Jack was referred to Face Forward by a support worker from BCHA. The worker identified that although Jack had applied to attend an Animal Care course at a local college, there was a high chance he wouldn’t begin the course.
Like many of the young people who Face Forward works with, Jack has Asperger’s syndrome. People with Asperger’s syndrome find changes, such as starting college, stressful and overwhelming. They find it difficult to cope with new teachers and other students. In addition, Jack has lived with anxiety and depression for several years, which have affected his motivation and caused him to drop out of courses in the past.
Thanks to this support worker, Jack decided to meet with the Face Forward team in Bournemouth. The Face Forward adviser, quickly identified that to put Jack at ease with starting college, he would need a supportive work placement in which he could feel settled before the start of the Animal Care course. He had previously done placements at Upton Park and New Leaf allotment, so he was happy to be outside and to work hard.
The Face Forward team took him to High Mead Farm in Ferndown. High Mead offers therapeutic farming for those with learning and physical disabilities, mental health issues and for disengaged youngsters. Ben and Charlotte, Face Forward apprentices, accompanied Jack on his taster day to provide peer support.
Jack commenced college in September 2017 and he has now completed his first half term on a Level 2 Animal Care Course. He volunteered at High Mead Farm for 2 months until this became his work placement. He has also received a certificate from the Bournemouth Volunteer Bureau for 50 hours of volunteering.
Jack said, ‘Thanks to Face Forward and especially my adviser, for helping me mentally prepare for college and for the opportunity with High Mead Farm. They really helped my emotional health by offering me with all these different options, such as help to do any activities I wanted to try out, offering support with my driving theory, or even things as simple as letting me know that I have people who will listen if I'm struggling. Whenever I seemed to struggle, my adviser would remind me how far I've really come since I met him, which would raise my spirits and help me to be prouder of myself. Thank you so much for everything you have provided for me, I really appreciate it and I know that I probably wouldn't be here without Face Forward.’