Posted: 06 March 2017

Checkpoint Torbay: Marking 25 years supporting young people

Checkpoint Torbay has been providing a range of free and confidential information, advice and support services to children and young people aged 8–17 for 25 years.

The anniversary is a chance to reflect on the thousands of young people that have walked through the door and had life changing experiences, as a result of the support received by the team.

Our work

Richard, Area Manager of CheckPoint, tells us about Jenny, a young person supported by the service to escape abuse at home.

Jenny was physically and emotionally abused by her step mum for over five years and put under a Child Protection Plan. She was referred to our CheckPoint programme in Torbay because she was feeling very angry and was arguing with her dad and new step mum.

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Read our impact report

Our impact report sets out the positive changes we’ve made to the lives of vulnerable children across the UK.

Sometimes what life throws at you will knock you off track and that's when a service like CheckPoint can help out. Transitioning from being a young person to an adult is not always easy. Many of the young people we work with have had a hard start in life. We are there for them to talk to and we listen without judging, providing them with the help and support they need.

Jenny’s story

‘When I first came to CheckPoint, I used to push everyone around, do drugs, drink and sleep with every guy that I saw. CheckPoint knows everything about my life. They’ve helped me and I’m not the same Jenny I was a year ago.

‘I got abused by my step mum for five years. As soon as my dad left the house, I’d get hit. I’d get fags thrown at my face. She chucked bleach in my eyes. I’d get beaten to the point where I’d have to go in hospital. She broke my foot and threw a plant pot over my head. She slapped me across my face and ripped all my clothes up. While I was asleep, she got her sons to beat me up. I won’t go near any other woman that I don’t know because of what happened – I am petrified of women.

‘I was doing drugs – legal highs, cannabis and pills – every day and drinking. Weed and alcohol calmed me down. Without it, I felt angry. CheckPoint told me things that were negative about drugs. My programme worker Nicky showed me a video of two girls who were on drugs already and then they took some pills from some guys who raped them. It made me feel sick because, if that was me, I would’ve taken the drugs.

My feelings were everywhere and she helped me a lot

‘I met Juliet, the best counsellor ever, at CheckPoint. I used to cut myself a lot and wouldn’t take off my blazer at school because I didn’t want to show my arms. I was suicidal. My counsellor told me why I did it. She told me I had a lot of stress and my past is really hard for me to get out of my head. Juliet gave me a squidgy telephone and said ‘If I‘m angry, squeeze it’. And if I’m happy, she told me to squeeze it too to remind yourself that your feelings can change. My feelings were everywhere and she helped me a lot.

‘A month ago, my mum and dad kicked me out and CheckPoint helped me then. CheckPoint got me a bed and breakfast and now I’m staying with a host family in emergency accommodation. It’s going okay. I’m going to study hairdressing at college and want to travel the world. I want to move to an island and open my own hairdressing salon. Then I’ll settle down and have kids – I want a girl.

They’re good people and it’s like a family here. This is my family.

‘If someone like me didn’t know about CheckPoint, I’d definitely say to them ‘Come in and see what they do’. It just looks like a little house but they do so much. If you are homeless, have a drug addiction, are in an abusive relationship, pregnant or your parents get drunk, you can come to CheckPoint. They’re good people and it’s like a family here. This is my family.

Conversations that Matter

If you’d like to hear more about our work, we are holding a conference and supporter reception on 27 March 2016.

If you are a young person and would like to speak to CheckPoint or find out more, please visit our website.

By Carly Clementson
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