Background – When starting Anstee, I think it’s safe to say I was in a vulnerable place. Whether it was school, my attitude or my emotions, I got myself into a position which resulted in having to attend a pupil referral unit instead of mainstream education. My grades weren’t to a high standard and I started to get caught up in trouble which caused everything to slowly turn towards the worst. I was digging myself a deeper hole as time went on and felt there was no way back. I lost all motivation, my behaviour became careless and I began to suffer with depression. If it wasn’t for Anstee sweeping me up, I honestly don’t quite know how I would have got through it.
The Problem – Although I was academic, my overall mood caused me to overlook all of my actions and decisions, doubting myself about how well I really could do if I put my mind to it. I constantly felt like a disappointment, but instead of trying to make things better I did the opposite and had bad attendance, exclusion, isolation, but nothing would get through to me. I had support from my family and close friends, yet I felt so alone, so ended up pushing them away too.
The Solution – Anstee was my get away. It’s a chance to feel listened to, valued and most of all included. Anstee had so many amazing experiences to offer, from magicians to circus acts, making music to creating life-like projects. Every opportunity allowed each individual young person to learn and grow in so many different ways. There are so many memories which I’ll take away with me, but my personal experience would never have been the same if it hadn’t been shared with Katherine Greening. Practically my rock, Katherine was there through it all. Whether it was tears, laughter, anger or stress, she kept me going.
The Outcome – After Anstee, I was referred to Smart Training to attend a traineeship for 16 – 24 year olds to help find work experience or employment. I was interested in childcare as a career path, but as I gained experience within the role, I realised it wasn’t for me, so tried sales as an apprentice at Smart Training. I then got employed by the company in February 2015, studying a level 3 diploma in sales and telesales, as well as taking my level 2 Functional Skills in English and maths. A year or so on and I am now level 3 qualified in Sales as an Account Manager, preparing to begin my level 3 management qualification.
I believe everything you go through turns out to be either a lesson or a blessing but it makes you a hell of a lot stronger in the long run. Anstee was the one thing that helped me understand and think about what I wanted for my future. It gave me the support to find my feet by escaping all of the things that made it hard. Anstee gave young people rare opportunities which allowed us to see progress in our growth throughout the programme, it really was an amazing experience. Anstee Bridge will always mean a lot to me, the difference I have seen it make to myself as well as others is unbelievable and I can’t thank the team enough.