Support the mental and physical wellbeing of young people and their families in Gloucestershire

Freya lost someone close to her through knife violence.

“I lost someone I was close to from knife violence. It really affected me, I was depressed, I wouldn’t leave my house for months. I stopped going to school and eventually dropped out missing all of my GCSEs.

My mum found me support with YG and I was given a  mentor who helped me find ways to cope. At the beginning, I wouldn’t leave my house, so she came out to me, got me up and helped me get out. I hadn’t left the house for ages and I wasn’t used to socialising with people, I needed that friendly chat, it meant a lot.

It was my mentor who introduced me to YG’s Peer Action Collective Project, a national project that supports young people to research the causes of youth violence in order to support other young people to help reduce youth violence. My Mentor said she thought it would be great if I got involved. It was a paid role and with her help, I applied and prepared for the interview. I was so nervous, but I got the job. It was the first commitment I had since dropping out of school.

Through the PAC project I’ve met my best friends and I have found people who I can relate to in so many ways. I have been able to talk about my experience which has helped me deal with my loss, It has given me back my faith in people. Losing someone is so hard but working with YG has given me a sense of redemption.

I live in a very isolated town, one bus every hour, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t drive and it can be a very toxic enclosed environment. It’s nice to have made friends that are outside of it. They have shown me that some of the stuff the young people in my town do isn’t normal and has given me the confidence to tell them when they are in the wrong. That’s what YG has really helped me with.

Now I am doing my GCSEs, YG has really encouraged and supported me to do them. Now PAC has ended I have also started a new job delivering well-being art sessions with teenagers. Next year I hope to go to Cirencester College to do A Levels in Child and Crime psychology which involves a lot of research and I’ve learnt so many research methods through PAC I can’t wait to get back into it.”

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