Ricky’s Story
“When I moved up to senior sessions, I made a new group of friends. They were nice and kind but liked to experiment with drugs, drinking, lying to their parents and stuff like that. I started to think some of my best friends were users and would often ditch me when someone better came along.

I was invited to join The Well being Project which is a girls group to talk about feelings, safety and awareness. This was fun because instead of lecturing, we talked about important stuff together in a safe, non bitchy environment. Half the session was about talking and learning, the other half was about having fun. We discussed what makes a good mate and I recognised from this group that some of my friends were bringing me down. With some one-two-one support with my youth workers, I saw clearly who was there for me and who was not. I am thankful for my youth workers and my true friends for helping me see better in situations I could not deal with by myself. I know today I am now in a trusting circle of friends who appreciate me for who I am.”

Youth Worker’s Statement
Ricky is a well known young person who attends sessions regularly. She is a popular young person to her peers but found building firm, reliable friendships tricky. I felt this could partly be due to Ricky being held back a year at school so struggled to find where she belonged amongst peer groups- almost feeling too mature for her year group but not mature enough for her age group. Ricky was quite chaotic during sessions and would be in the middle of a lot of drama and conflict. Despite her outgoing, bubbly personality, Ricky was easily led by her friends and so we decided she would be a perfect young person to benefit from our Well-being Project. Our main learning outcomes for this project was to improve the young women’s self esteem, well-being and build on team work skills through additional youth work support, curriculum based activities and project planning. Ricky started attending this project night with her best friend. However, over the course of the project, her friend did not fully commit and would often miss sessions.  During this time Ricky had established a strong role within the group and looked forward to coming every week.  Despite her friend moving on, Ricky took a lead role and worked on a final project to do a 12 hour painting and decorating challenge. We managed to capture her creative side and encouraged her to recognise her own strengths and skills. After completing this project Ricky felt proud of what she had achieved and loved showing her friends the new decorated room which had improved their centre. Through taking part in the Well-being Project, Ricky was able to be a part of something she really enjoyed. We were able to give her the time and opportunity to be reflective around her own feelings and attitudes within her friendship group.

The Well-being Project has now come to an end, but Ricky often says how much she misses it and would love us to do it again. Youth Workers have noticed a change in Ricky’s behaviour during generic sessions. She is now able to recognise when she needs to step back from a situation and is much happier being herself amongst friends. She now also takes on a lead role during activities and gets involved in what she wants to do, even if her friends aren’t so keen to participate.