Due to being unable to find continued funding, our Future STEPS© service will cease to operate in Rushmoor and Hart after the 31st March.
Within the last year, the service has supported over 80 young people to make transformational changes to their behaviour. These vulnerable and hard to reach young people have engaged fully with the support offered by our highly skilled Talent Coaches.
It is with regret that we are now in the process of closing the cases and it’s one of the hardest things our Future STEPS© talent coach Brad has had to do. There is one case in particular that Brad has particularly struggled with and it’s clear to see why.
Thomas*, aged 13, has been supported by Step by Step for a year and a half and had over 40 one-to-one sessions.
Thomas describes that “the best thing about the Talent Coaches, it that they actually listen to you and it makes you think that you are not alone, they actually care about what you say and everything that you do. I feel very sad that it is stopping because I am scared that everything is going to start all over again”
Thomas has had to deal with uncertainty and rejection since a young age. Unfortunately, he and his siblings suffered abuse which lead to them being moved into foster care. His siblings were later adopted, leaving Thomas separated from his siblings. Thomas has struggled with Foster care which has changed too frequently for him to feel settled.
When Thomas was referred to Future STEPS© he had incredibly low self-esteem and difficulty trusting people. He unable to manage his emotions and would frequently become upset or angry easily. Thomas found it very hard to speak with people his own age and would spend the majority of his break times at school staying close to school staff who he felt safe with.
From the first session Thomas was very forthcoming with what he wanted to get from sessions. He knew he needed to speak about the past because it made him upset and angry whenever he thought about it, but he was unable to open up. Thomas simply couldn’t get the words out due to upset and frustration.
Thomas mentioned that he found it easier to talk when he was playing games, so, in a bid to work out a route to reach Thomas’s emotions, we devised a game together that would come to be known as “Landmines” for the many weeks to come.
The idea behind the game was that sometimes people don’t always realise when they say or do something that causes a person to be upset and that sparks a negative reaction, or explosion in this case.
In the weeks after the game was invented, progress was slow but steady and the pace was dictated by Thomas and he finally began to talk about his past more and more each week. A lot of his anger and other emotions centred around him suffering abuse and his separation from his siblings. He found a lot of these events to be upsetting and difficult to comprehend. Each week he would gradually start to speak more and more in a bid to understand his emotions. It took time to build up trust with him as he found it difficult to build these relationships, having moved into three different foster placements in a short time and having had three different social workers.
After a lot of progress speaking about his past, sessions also began to focus on building relationships and trust with other people, as he had little interaction with peers at school. Thomas set himself a challenge of spending break time at clubs with other young people for two days a week, and in the space of a term, he went from the boy that would spend free time with teachers, to spending every break and lunch playing card games with his friends.
Our Talent Coach speaks very highly of Thomas and the progress he has made. It was fair to say that the reaction from Thomas when he found this out the service was ending was an emotional one. He offered to pay for sessions with his pocket money and said that he wanted to speak to the government to tell them off.
Brad: “This young man is an absolute inspiration to all of us. Even through all of the traumatic and difficult experiences he has faced in his young life, he turned up to sessions with a smile on his face every week and has shown tremendous courage by continuing to not let these experiences define him. Telling this young man that support was ending was one of the hardest things I have had to do since working with young people for a number of reasons. The one thing I didn’t want to do was be another person to leave his life. I felt helpless that nothing I said could make this young man feel better as despite all his tremendous progress, it left me with a bitter feeling knowing the work we set out to do was not complete.”
The only way we will be able to continue providing this transformative service is through the support of our community.
Just £25 can pay for a young person to have a 1:1 session with one of our Talent Coaches within our remaining Surrey based FutureSTEPS service. Each young person we support has an average of 8 sessions with a Talent Coach, therefore for every £200 raised one young person will be able to receive the sustainable support that is needed to transform his/her life.
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Even through all of the traumatic and difficult experiences he has faced in his young life, he turned up to sessions with a smile on his face every week and has shown tremendous courage by continuing to not let these experiences define him.
Brad, Talent Coach