When Milly joined the group when she had just turned 14 years old. She cares for her mother who is not socially confident and reluctant to engage is any social situations. This reluctance is mirrored by Milly. The difficulty Milly has engaging socially with others has led to incidences of bullying and intimidation both actual and perceived. These incidents have taken place within her neighbourhood and at school. This has resulted in the family moving home and schools several times to achieve a ‘fresh start.’
When Milly was first referred to the group the workers spent time supporting both Milly and her mother so they felt confident about Milly attending the group and that she would feel supported and safe. This took some time, many conversations and home visits with mother. It was particularly important that mother was kept fully informed about the programmes of activities, times and clear line of communication maintained. Slowly over months Milly became more engaged in activities and began to make friends with others in a similar situation to herself. Eventually Milly was confident enough to attend her first residential. This was a massive step in both her and her mother’s trust in the group and workers. Milly did find being away initially very difficult and spent a lot of time on the phone to her mother seeking reassurance. The staff also spoke to mother frequently to make sure she was happy and secure. Milly did have a great time taking part in activities such as canoeing, climbing and abseiling and when she wasn’t thinking about home really started to gain confidence.
Attending the group has made a significant difference to Milly. She is gaining in confidence and making friends and her social skills are improving. She has realised how much she enjoys swimming and is building her relationships with the local pool instructors who are encouraging her to volunteer and help with swimming lessons. This is something a year ago she would never have done. In addition, she has also surpassed our expectations and gone on to stand for election of youth representative, as part of the local council engagement policy.