Joel struggled with his emotional wellbeing and was placed into foster care when he was 14 years old. He had anger management issues and found it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with his family.
Joel reflects that his behaviour was anti-social and he had gone “off the rails”. He ended up staying at friends’ houses, and even in a garden shed, before being placed in secure accommodation and then a care home.
Joel was referred to Thomas House, where his worker provided therapeutic and emotional support, and taught Joel important life-skills including budgeting, cooking and shopping. They introduced him to new activities, such as sailing, which provided a massive boost to his self-confidence and self-esteem, and supported him to adopt a healthier lifestyle through exercise. Joel was encouraged to address the issues behind his behaviour, and the number of outbursts subsequently decreased.
At the age of 20, Joel is enrolled on an apprenticeship and will shortly move into supported accommodation, although he will still receive regular home visits and ongoing support from Barnardo’s.
“Life had been rocky ever since I was young. I was wild… I didn’t care about anything. When I was referred to Thomas House I just thought it would be more of the same and I didn’t want to go. I didn’t see why it would be any different. I thought I was old enough to just go straight out into the world.
But Barnardo’s gave me a place to find my feet and start to realise who I am. The staff respected me as a person and I didn’t feel like I was being punished anymore. It’s the way they spoke to me, the positive energy and the positive thoughts. They were impartial and non-judgmental. I knew they’d fight my corner and would always be there for me. It felt like a family.
It’s changed me in every way. I’ve learned to be more responsible and more mature, to weigh up the pros and cons and think about the consequences of my actions. It’s made me more confident and competent too. I do so much more for myself, and I’m living much more healthily too. I cook my meals from scratch and include plenty of fresh ingredients and vegetables.
I feel sharper and more focused. It’s been really good for me.
I just needed a push in the right direction, and a stepping stone to act as a bridge across to adulthood. Thomas House has helped me with that transition from a boy to a man. I still get low spells and I still get annoyed at times, but I finally feel that I’m closer to being happy.
It’s been a very long time but I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.”