George’s Catch22’s journey
George was referred to the Creating Opportunities Forum Programme via the Youth Offending team in 2021, to open doors while he struggled with personal challenges.
In 2021, 17-year-old George was in the youth justice system due to his recent offending; he was sleeping on his brother’s couch without alternative accommodation and lacked any stability in his life. George also struggled with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and was being tested for autism. George felt he did not know what he wanted to do with his life, and he struggled to set goals and maintain motivation to work. He found it difficult to concentrate in a classroom setting and this had impacted his confidence to learn, and therefore his progression in education or employment. Although George had never had full-time employment, he wanted stability and he wanted to be able to pay rent.
In the sessions with his Creating Opportunities career coach, Kaleigh Buckley, they began exploring what George’s interests were and what options were available to him. George claimed that he could not see himself in an office-based job and wanted something that was ‘hands on’, keeping him occupied both mentally and physically. He had a passion for football but struggled when it came to being part of a team, which had often resulted in him being removed from teams. Kaleigh told George that she had a connection with the Greater Manchester Football Club, and she suggested to an excited George that this could be a positive next step for him.
Ongoing sessions were tailored to George’s learning style and were kept short to maintain his interest and enthusiasm, while allowing George to feel comfortable enough to disclose his ambitions, and the challenges he was facing in his personal life, particularly in relation to his behaviour.
Following the referral to the football club, George shared the fantastic news with Kaleigh, his support worker; he had received a phone call from the football club. “I am absolutely buzzing, when I got the call, I jumped up and down,” George said.
Since then, George has been attending the football club every Thursday at 8pm. Kaleigh has received positive feedback about his engagement from his football coach, which was also shared with George. Without the support of a Creating Opportunities coach and Catch22, George would not have had the opportunity to get back to football, where his passion has only grown. He has re-gained his confidence to learn and to develop, and says “thank you for referring me, I’m proper enjoying it.”
George has since secured full-time employment at a removals company, providing George with structure in his day and the stability he wanted. George is enjoying the job and feels like he now has many positives in his life – from working full time and attending his Youth Offending meetings, to attending football weekly. He is also being considered for another football club which will allow him to be part of another team during the week.