Sue Maidens – Programme Coordinator Me2 Programme from MY Trust

Robert was a 14 year old boy and before he accessed MY Trust’s Me2 programme he would spend most of his days sleeping and not socialising at all, even with his family. Robert had not been in education since age 12.  Robert’s mum was really struggling and did not know where to turn for help.  Robert has autistic spectrum disorder, severe social anxiety and learning difficulties.

Despite Robert’s initial reluctance to engage with the programme I spent a long time talking to him about his interests. During our conversations it became clear that Robert liked theatre and drama. 

A suitable club was found in his local area which he attended weekly supported by his mentor. Robert progressed really well at the group and asked his mum to buy him the branded T-Shirt and Sweatshirt as he was “Definitely attending on my own when my mentor has withdrawn”.

By the time Robert’s mentor withdrew he had grown in confidence and was leaving his home unaccompanied on occasions. Robert was talking freely at home and interacting with his siblings.  Robert was also back in education and doing really well.  Roberts mum said “I cannot believe how much the me2 programme has helped Robert. Robert has benefitted so much with a huge improvement in his levels of anxiousness and confidence.  This is something I never thought would happen”.

Eighteen months on, Robert still attends the drama group every week. Robert’s mum says that he never misses a session.  Following his mentor’s withdrawal Robert auditioned for a part in the drama group’s production of the Wizard of Oz.  Robert was successful and secured one of the lead roles playing the part of the Lion.  This production was performed at the Miskin Theatre in July 2017.  Robert has since auditioned for a part in the production of Sweeney Todd where he has secured another leading role as the Judge.  This production will be performed at the Miskin Theatre in July 2018.  Robert has made lots of new friends and meets with them regularly to socialise.  He has also joined the ‘group chat’ on social media.  Robert is considering studying Drama at North Kent College in September 2019.  Robert’s mum said “"I genuinely feel the me2 programme has been life changing for Robert. The programme is brilliant and massively helpful. Robert has developed so much with his confidence, his communication, his independence, his self-esteem and motivation. He has made lots of new friends all thanks to the me2 programme”.

*Different name used for data protection purposes