Fighting for hope on the frontline
Right now, the hopes of young people are hanging by a thread. Our practitioners work with children whose lives are threatened by abuse, exploitation neglect. They help young people restore hope and find happiness. Here are some stories of hope from the frontline.
Fiona James, Child Sexual Exploitation Worker for Street Safe Lancashire
Fiona works with children at risk of sexual exploitation. She works mostly with girls aged 9-23 years old. They may be referred because they’ve gone missing, they have an older partner or something on their phone is worrying, like explicit photos.
'An awful lot of young people blame themselves. A lot of the time it’s getting them to see they are not alone. One of the key issues I explore with young people is around sexual consent. It’s about empowering them to make decisions for themselves. Hope is empowerment, being aware of the choices you have.'
I stay hopeful by reminding myself of the young people I’ve worked with who have recovered.
Liz Digby, Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET) coordinator
Liz coaches children who are leaving our drugs and alcohol services. She helps them look for employment, volunteering or training opportunities. She finds things for them to move on to, to distract from old habits.
Since Covid-19, her day-to-day job has gone out of the window. She has had to focus more on the well-being of children as they contend with the lack of opportunities out there. She does daily check-ins and focuses on things to look forward to.
Hope to Liz is ‘taking a chance’ and ‘believing you can’. She stays hopeful by knowing she’s making a difference although ‘you may never find out what difference you’ve made’.
Charlotte giving hope
Charlotte Driscoll, support worker for Essex Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service
Charlotte works with young people who are looking to reduce or stop their drug and alcohol use. ‘I see young people from all walks of life. Some have been through the care system. Some have a dual diagnosis of substance misuse and mental health, some are on the verge of school exclusion and some from very supportive families.
‘I used to work with allot of young people on the cusp of school exclusion, who felt very hopeless. However I am now hearing from more of my young people that they are struggling to see a future.’
Charlotte gives them space to talk and works with them to see the positive.
For me, hope is about being able to see possibility. It’s an acknowledgment of being able to find something positive no matter how bad a situation you are in.
I see hope in young people, I see them rise above some of the most horrendous experiences. It helps me have a soft word with myself. It puts things into perspective for me. They are very inspiring.