We know that it can be difficult to approach someone to ask for help, but as many of the people we have worked with over the years have told us; they are more often than not glad they did.
Below is a selection of stories as told by some of the people we have helped over the years. Their hope in sharing these memories is that they can encourage other people to get in touch.
A young volunteer for Key said:
"I used Key’s services for a number of years having had a difficult childhood which eventually led to me becoming homeless.
"Key gave me so much that I wanted to give something back. I wanted to work with troubled young people.
"Volunteering for Key is helping me to learn loads. The more I learn the more motivated I am to learn more. Even if I am having a bad day being able to help someone else makes me feel good. Young people really listen to me as they know I am honest and that I have been where they are and have come out the other side.
"I love being able to listen to them and help them to see things differently."
Jack is 17 and was previously living with his mother and father and both parents were drug users and were possibly dealing from the property.
Jack did not want any further involvement with either of his parents and was being supported by his wider family and moved into supported living. Jack had also previously been in foster care.
Jack was NEET but keen to find an apprenticeship in ICT or Business Administration.
Jack had excellent ICT skills but his motivation and confidence was very low.
Key supported Jack to look at all options to assist to find suitable training/apprenticeship opportunities. Jack did not want to consider full time further education.
Jack agreed to try a traineeship with a training provider in Business Administration to get into a routine and structure and also to start to build further qualifications. Jack was given work experience setting up computer systems. Jack did not want to continue with a Business Admin apprenticeship but took advice from Steve to continue with the training whilst other options were looked at and applied for.
Key assisted Jack to look at benefit options and secure travel funding for both local free bus travel and also funding from Key to travel to training provider interviews in Manchester.
Key and Jack worked on his CV with guidance around applications and completing online application forms, interview techniques and mock interviews with advice on research techniques specific to ICT. Key approached a number of local IT companies to secure work experience opportunities along with specialist ICT training providers for IT infrastructure within the NHS.
Jack was offered interviews with a number of companies and was successful with gaining a place on an NHS full apprenticeship with Preston and South Ribble Hospital Trust for a Level 3 ICT infrastructure apprenticeship which can progress to a Level 4 with Microsoft accreditation.
Jack now has his own flat from supported housing and is managing brilliantly with maintaining the flat and budgeting skills. Jack has new levels of self - confidence and is now in control of his future and is currently learning to drive which will open a whole new world to him again.
The way Key work to support young people is brilliant. You don’t get many services as good and as friendly as that; especially Steve, he’s not only helped me but my cousin too. I feel as if what key has done has really helped me gain vital life skills that I can now apply to my future
Rachael received help from Key’s Mediation Service and said
"We had very poor experiences with another service but Key are a shining example of how things should work.
"Our situation was assessed and very quickly positive strategies were put in place.
"I would like to thank Rosie for saving my family (this may sound dramatic), she has been a constant shining light.
"We are now a family able to think before we act. We can see through the fog and plan for a future with positivity."
Sarah was a young lady whose family received support from Key.
Sarah’s mum and dad have autism and were very focused on keeping their children, including Sarah, safe.
This was taken to its extreme and as a result was making Sarah anxious to the extent that she couldn’t interact at school and she struggled to go to new places.
Sarah and her family were supported in a range of creative ways including storytelling, game playing and planning visits to new places.
This reduced the worry of the whole family, including Sarah. Her reduced anxiety enabled her take part in ‘show and tell’ for the first time at school and to go to new places.
"I feel really proud of myself now and daddy shouts less."
"Everyone is just so much more relaxed, they are trying new things and starting to enjoy life."
Nathan received a number of services from Key.
He had a difficult start in life, being brought up by parents who were drug addicts.
Nathan was helped with a move into supported housing and then onto Key’s Employment Coaching Programme.
Nathan was not in training or employment and although he had excellent ICT skills he struggled with his attitude, confidence and motivation.
Employment Coaching helped in a staged way including interview skills, work experience and practical things such as a bus pass and interview clothes.
Nathan achieved his goal and is now working as an ICT apprentice having been successful in a highly competitive process for a national organisation.
The way Key support people is brilliant. You don’t get many services as good and friendly as Key. I feel as if what Key has done has really helped me gain vital life skills that I can now apply to my future
This is a massive endorsement as at the start of support Nathan felt he had no future.
"I met my Key caseworker at a low point in my life; I had been admitted to hospital with a viral infection and had other health conditions that affected my mobility.
"I was just about to move house when I became ill. My sister returned the key to my property whilst I was in hospital and effectively made me homeless as I lost the property I was to move into.
"From the moment I met my caseworker in the homeless unit they put me at ease, they understood all my needs and helped me through the process.
"I have a new flat with my caseworker’s help.
“One happy bunny!”
Patricia came to Key desperate for support with her teenage son, Darren, who had autism and ADHD.
Everyday was a battle with both her son and the school which he attended. The school was struggling and was noticing the behaviour rather than the underlying causes. Darren was sent home or to exclusion on almost a daily basis.
As a result of support from Key, Darren will have an Educational Health Care Plan in place for the new academic year.
Mum feels that at last she has been heard and special measures to help Darren succeed in school are in place.
Key provided invaluable support and advice. They listened well and educated me!
Danny was referred to pre-tenancy training when he was living in temporary accommodation in Preston.
At the start of the training he said he was unsure of what his next steps would be and worried about what the future held for him.
Danny engaged enthusiastically with the course and said:
I have a much better understanding of my responsibilities now as well as those of the landlord. I feel more confident about my ability to secure and cope in a tenancy. I know my options and have a certificate to show landlords that I will be able to manage my own tenancy. I am ready now to move into my own flat
When Justina got help from Key she was cutting herself almost every other day.
It was the only way she knew to release the anguish she felt after suffering abuse as a child.
As part of support, Justina kept a journal, learnt a variety of distraction techniques that kept her safe as well as using the medium of art to explore her feelings.
School was supported to apply a number of small changes to her school day that made a vast difference to her sense of wellbeing. At the end of support she had managed to stop cutting.
I still have good days and bad days but now I have other ways of coping which mean I don’t need to cut myself anymore
My son received support from Shar during lockdown due to him having severe anxiety and not being able to make sense of things going on around him.
We were referred to Shar after support initially from another lady who recommend her as she has experience with children with ASD (my son is currently awaiting an assessment).
The support my son received was invaluable, she helped him to make sense of things others hadn’t been able to. Shar helped him let go of things from the past that he believed about himself that weren’t true, by writing things down and then tearing them up and stamping on them - stamping them out of his mind (his words they were stamped in my brain and Shar helped me stomp them back out).
The stop, gap, go method Shar introduced has been amazing. My son can use this method anywhere at any time and no one else knows he is doing it. It has helped him at home and now back at school when he feels things maybe getting a bit to much for him to handle and there isn’t an appropriate adult around to speak to.
Not only did Shar support my son but the whole family too, she came into our home and made sure to get to know all of my children as well as me. She explained everything in a way that my son and my other children understood, and answered any questions they had (there were a lot).
I will be forever thankful for the support Shar gave us during a very difficult time and I’m sure it will continue to benefit us for a very long time. Thank you Shar, you’re the best x
If you have a story to tell us about how Key helped you then please contact us and we will try to share it.