Alice

Alice first attended a Well Centre drop-in at her school during the 2014 summer term when she was nearing the end of year 7. She arrived with her friend who had persuaded her to seek support for low self-esteem caused by bullying. The youth worker met with Alice and suggested she attend the Well Centre so they could talk about it at greater length. Alice registered at the Well Centre, and attended numerous one-to-one sessions with the youth worker.

During these sessions the pair explored self-esteem, managing emotions and confidence boosting techniques. Alice greatly enjoyed taking part in the Well Centre's summer activities, and meeting lots of new young people who were also taking part. She started to think about new social clubs she could join when back at school.

During one session, and a conversation about her family, Alice disclosed that her Mum was a victim of domestic violence, and that she was sometimes scared to be at home. Alice also said that this was the first time she had talked about this with anyone. The youth worker supported Alice through this, and worked with the school's safeguarding officer to make a referral to social services so that Alice's Mum and her family could access the support they needed. After, Alice continued to regularly attend the Well Centre's drop-in sessions for support around family, friendships and school issues.

James

20-year-old James came to A&E with two stab wounds. He was adamant that he did not need Redthread’s support, and was being verbally aggressive to the medical teams. His condition was serious, and I persuaded him to not discharge himself before he received the appropriate medical treatment. We had a quick chat about the effect the attack could have on his health, and I left him with my contact number.

Two days later I received a call from James. He was concerned for his own safety and health, and told me that he had also been stabbed two years previously, and that there were no professionals he could turn to. We arranged to meet in a location he felt safe and comfortable in.

James was really apologetic about how he had behaved when he came to A&E, and was keen to talk about his previous and most recent assault. He had kept both stabbings a secret from his family, and was coming up with excuses as to why he couldn’t travel to certain areas of the city. James was suffering from nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks, and was struggling to leave the house.

I contacted James’ borough and they were able to allocate him a specialist victim support worker. I accompanied James to the initial meeting, and we discussed housing, educational and employment opportunities, and made a plan for him to see his GP and access counselling to help him process the life-threatening trauma he had experienced. The meeting was a huge success and James was relieved to have a plan for his recovery.

After James sent me a message saying:

“It was a big help man, thanks so much it all started with you…and now that I have got the ball rolling that’s good…but thanks a million, don’t know what I would have done without you.”

-Redthread Youth Worker

Freddie

Freddie, a young man in his early 20s, arrived at hospital after being stabbed multiple times. After the attack he found himself not only facing a long road to medical recovery, but homeless too. Freddie was not engaging with his probation officer, and was facing an upcoming court date. It was at this point, with Freddie alone on the ward, that Redthread’s Youth Violence Intervention Programme first made contact.

The team offered Freddie support, advice and a chance to openly discuss what behaviours, decisions and events had led to his hospitalisation. The youth workers were able to support him in fulfilling a number of tasks and responsibilities he was simply unable to do by himself. The team arranged for Freddie’s probation worker to visit the ward, and re-engagement with this key support worker meant he could discuss, for the first time, the steps he needed to take to move on from his criminal past.

On behalf of Freddie, who was unaware of the name of his social housing worker and was in rent arrears, Redthread spoke to the housing group, explaining to them the details of his attack and his need to be rehoused in a safer location. Whilst this process was underway, Freddie was offered temporary housing outside the area. Freddie was also suffering from flashbacks after his traumatising attack. Although initially hesitant, Redthread encouraged him to seek medical support from his GP.

Freddie’s life was dramatically changed by his attack, but more so by the help offered to him afterwards. At a time when he was vulnerable and alone, Redthread offered him support when others were unable to do so.

Names and some details have been changed to protect young people's identity.