Danny's Story

I used to cause a lot of trouble. I was a bit of a tearaway to be honest. Things weren't great at home, especially with my Dad and brother, though my Mum has always really been there for me. I got kicked out of school when I was 14 for being up to no good. I didn't have any respect for anyone.

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When the Youth Worker started she said that she knew my reputation but she didn't want to judge me. She wanted to start with a clean slate. That meant an awful lot to me.

And since then she's never made me any false promises. This is my 26th day off weed (cannabis). I used to smoke £100 worth of weed a day. I really want to be one of the role models here at the Youth Centre. 

The Youth Centre Worker said she won't consider me for it until I kick the weed. It was really hard at first. I just couldn't sleep but it's got better. And I'm doing it cause I really want this. I want to see my certificate up on the wall showing that I've done it. Why do I want to be a role model? Partly cause lots of people out there think I can't do it. And also because I want to be that type of person. I want to be helping the youth workers with the younger people who come in here. 

Things are a lot better at home now. I'm getting on with my family much better. And I think they are proud of me because of the progress I've made here. I want to show Chelsea my CV and look at how I can become a youth worker.

 

Meet Dolly...

On Dolly's first visit to the Youth Centre to attend a dance project she was bullied on the street. She said it happened every week and she felt unsafe. Her Mum had to come to pick her up. She was too scared to go home alone.

Soon after the girl that had bullied her on the street then rubbed chewing gum into her hair. The youth worker rang the police.

Dolly and her Mum spoke to the police but then dropped the charges. But Dolly said that she felt that the youth worker had really looked out for her.

Since then Dolly found some lumps in her breast. She immediately thought it was breast cancer. She immediately went to the youth worker to tell her about it. The youth worker talked through the various ailments it could be, reassuring her that it might not be breast cancer. She even offered to go to the doctor with her.

Thankfully it wasn't breast cancer. There have been various issues in the family involving Social Care. Issues that have occurred before and meant that other children have been taken into care, which is frightening for Dolly. The youth worker has been able to talk through those issues with Dolly and reassure her that she will be with her every step of the way.

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In Emma's Words

I live in Shepperton, sometimes with my Dad and sometimes with my nan. I used to spend a week with my Mum and then a week with my Dad.

I love coming to the Youth Centre. I’d have nothing else to do otherwise and would be hanging out on the street. If I’m not on the streets, I’m hanging out in the park in the evening with my friends. There’s just nothing to do here.

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Being here and now being a Role Model has definitely made things a lot better at home.  Things have improved with my Mum and I think she and my Dad are really proud of me you know.

I’m going to college soon. I’ll have to get a part-time job but that’s okay. 

 

I love coming here. There’s a real sense of community. We all know each other. And the Youth Centre Worker really cares about us. She won’t stop kids coming in if they are high or drunk because she would rather they were here and safe, than out of the street and maybe get knocked down by a car or fall in the river. She makes them sober up while they are here.

I talk to the Youth Centre Worker if I’ve got any problems. She really helped me out with a big one I had. She was really there for me. I really love being a Role Model. We either help with the younger kids here or we go to the Old People’s Day Centre and be with them. They really look forward to us coming now and they don’t find us intimidating if they see us on the street. I really like them. We showed them how to play bowls on the Wii (Nintendo Wii) and they showed us how to play curling.