12 Feb Andre’s story
During the first lockdown, we were able to distribute art packs to our young people who would normally benefit from access to our Arts Studio. Keeping young people engaged through this difficult period was crucial. With the art packs, young people could take part in our new ‘Follow Along Art Sessions’ on Instagram Live hosted by our Youth Team.
Andre*, 15, was one of our young people who requested an art pack. He has consistently been attending our Youth Programme for the past 4 years.
When Daniel, Youth Programme Manager at Coram’s Fields, delivered his art pack, Andre’s Mum asked if they could speak about Andre’s wellbeing. Andre was finding the lockdown really difficult and was struggling with sleep, motivation and his mental wellbeing.
Daniel and Andre spoke on the stairway of the block Andre and his Mum lived in and Daniel suggested that Andre meets with Evans, our Senior Youth Worker, weekly to have check-ins, get outdoors and get vital exercise. The weekly meetings provided a safe space where Andre could open up about how he was coping and provided essential structure whilst our Youth Centre was not able to open onsite.
Fast forward to November 2020, and Andre had been engaging with Evans on a weekly basis for 6 months. Through this time, they did outdoor fitness sessions, fixed bikes together as part of our Bike Project and Andre worked towards his Arts Awards through painting and music. All of this helped Andre to have improved wellbeing and resilience and speaking with Evans regularly helped him to have increased self-awareness about his thoughts and feelings.
Andre has also been attending our one-to-one homework and employability sessions, where he receives essential support in accessing job, training, and placement opportunities across the community. The sessions also help to build Andre’s confidence, motivation, and self-esteem.
We found a suitable work opportunity for Andre, a media internship at a local charity. This was only open to young people in Camden, and to those who had taken part in media projects with the charity previously. Andre had done this, as we hosted sessions onsite at Coram’s Fields through our partnership work.
We supported Andre to apply via a video application, and he was interviewed for the position in December. Our employment sessions provide tailored application and interview guidance and tips.
Just before Christmas, we were delighted to find out that Andre was successful, and he began his first week in his internship at the start of January. We’ve been hearing how exciting the internship is, and about all of the equipment he’s been learning to use in his role such as SLR cameras and Macbooks!
We’re really proud of all Andre has achieved so far, and we will continue to support him to be empowered to overcome the barriers he may face and make the most of opportunities across the community.
If you want to help support young people through this crisis, please consider supporting our Emergency Appeal. Local children and young people battle worsening mental and physical health and uncertain futures. Donate here today.
*name has been changed.