Mary Jean’s Story

I first attended BFree when I was in year 6. I wasn’t old enough to attend so I sneaked in by putting a Therfield jumper on! When I was in year 7, a close friend of mine went to BFree and told me to come along. It was a place with games, a pool table and trips in the school holidays. I continued attending BFree from year 7 until I was 17 years old and I now work for AllSaints Coffee Shop as an apprentice.

LYP has really helped and supported me. It has helped me grow in confidence and build good friendships, and given me opportunities to develop and have new experiences. One of the biggest highlights was being part of the team that went to Romania in Summer 2018, delivering an activity camp for gypsy children.

LYP has also helped me through some difficult times. When I was in year 11 I had a particularly difficult time and I was going through a lot of personal struggles. I was also unable to attend school due to anxiety. I was offered support from another youth agency but I didn’t feel as safe there because I didn’t have a relationship with the youth workers. Because I had been attending BFree since I was 11, I found it much easier to access support with LYP and they really helped me. I felt safe with the youth workers and trusted them. LYP provided the opportunity for me to receive key-work from a youth worker at school and again at BFree. Due to the sessions, my confidence and self-esteem increased and I was able to attend school again.

After I finished my GCSE’s I started attending a local college. After a year at the college I was encouraged not to stay on for a further year, which led me to rethink my career path. I discussed this with an LYP youth worker who helped me work through my disappointment with leaving college, and suggested that I speak to the AllSaints manager about the possibility of working there.

AllSaints offered me the chance to do an apprenticeship in Customer Service, and I have now been working for AllSaints for seven months and I’m really enjoying it. My confidence has increased since working for AllSaints and I regularly get to try new things and I am always learning. I have a further five months to complete my apprenticeship and I have now been offered the opportunity to step up to the role of supervisor at AllSaints!

I don’t know what the future holds but I feel that LYP and AllSaints have provided a springboard to a more positive future.

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