The name of the participant in this case study has been changed for safeguarding reasons.
Jessica was referred to PYF in October 2016 from her careers advisor at Prospects. We initially met with her at her home, as Jessica has severe anxiety issues and doesn’t cope well with attending new venues or meeting new people. In our initial meeting she did not say anything, sitting and listening whilst we spoke to her parents and Prospects worker.
We felt Jessica would benefit from the support on offer from our Building Better Opportunities – Progress programme. The reason for this is that the Progress programme offers a long term intervention. Progress delivers a robust form of engagement in both the following aspects; one to one work as well as gaining access to dynamic small group work, these are both vital for young people such as herself where she can develop her confidence in social situations.
Jessica did not visit our sessions until 14th February due to her anxiety issues. During Jessica’s initial visit we discussed her interest in working with animals and she had an interest in possibly working as an animal groomer.
We kept in contact with her careers advisor worker from Prospects after this visit, it took ourselves and the careers advisor until the 12th April to engage her into one of our sessions where she met with other young people who have been on the BBO programme and a progress mentor. At the time we discussed the April programme such as the timetable, activities and her aspirations for the future. Her first session was on the 6th June, she enjoyed our music sessions and at first she would only attend these sessions on the Tuesday morning however over a period of 3 weeks as she got to know the youth workers and the rest of the young people her attendance and contributions in the sessions increased.
Sessions such as the boxing and gym have increased her confidence where she has been taking part in small circuit sessions, body building and cardio vascular exercises. There is a visible difference in her physical presence as she would hunch back when standing up to try and hide herself away in social situations partly because of her anxiety and partly due to her being conscious of her height. She now feels much more confident with her body image and no longer hides herself away when walking into the sessions.
The boxing and MMA sessions require close proximity to one another in order to effectively deliver the activities. This would have been something that would have made Jessica extremely uncomfortable, however we have found she is much more confident in taking part in these sessions especially in the MMA workshops where the instructor teaches the young people of escaping holds and grips which can only be learnt by actually practising with one another.
Our sessions also have an education element embedded within the programme where young people who missed out on their English and Maths can gain their level 1 and 2 in functional skills. Her progress so far has been on a positive trajectory, we hope, in the short term she remains engaged with PYF for the full year. After this she can move into the many multi discipline PYF sessions which are run all over the city as well as progressing on to a positive destination, whether it is some form of meaningful employment, education or training.