Eddy is 21 years old and is local to the area. He is currently self-employed and lives with his mum. He has 5 GCSEs and joined the Ynot Project when he was 12 or 13 years old.
He plays down the fact that, ‘I became a young carer for my father from the age of 7 years until he died when I was 16 years old. It was a somewhat lonely life, and I felt that the teachers at school never really understood me and how difficult it could be to lead a ‘normal’ school life.
I guess as a result I lacked a lot of confidence, and was shy and nervous. I just learned to get on the best I could and make do. Life was dull I suppose and I lacked any real ambition and lacked a number key life skills.
Eddy’s life certainly changed when he joined the Ynot Project. He says, ‘A friend referred me and I came along with him. I felt really positive vibes and staff such as Sharon were really great. My first impressions were right and I have enjoyed it ever since.
I have always had an interest in technical things and had been involved in the school radio station from the age of 12 years. As a result I quickly became supporting the Project when they put on drama shows, with things such as sound and lighting. I loved it and realised I was good at it. I even wrote my own scripts and realised I had ability and loads of confidence I never had before. What has changed about you? ‘I guess I have loads more confidence and people skills. I have gained technical skills and know what I want to do in life – event management and support, which I learnt from being on the Project. I feel I have changed from being a boy to a man.
What is the key?
‘The Ynot Project and Sharon in particular. I have never felt alone since I became involved in the Project. The Project is a place where there is lots of trust, which was important to me. Whilst teachers never really understood me, Sharon and other involved in the Project really get me and can be relied on. They never give up and you and help you to feel good about yourself by getting you do to what you are good at. That builds your confidence and you realise anything is possible if you work hard and have loads of confidence. I would sum Sharon up as being truthful, outgoing, never too busy and extremely professional at what she does. Sharon and Paula also know who to refer you to if you need additional support and guidance. They seem to know everyone! It is as if you have one point of contact, which is really useful.
What is the future?
‘The future is very positive. As a direct result of what I have gained from the Ynot Project I now run my own not for profit event management company with a colleague who I met on the Project, and it is really successful. We employ 2 full time staff and have 20 to 30 freelance staff on our books at any one time. We have achieved loads. We have supported Children in Need and I have even supported Peter Kay and John Bishop at their gigs. Peter Kay has become a friend and helps our business whenever can with referrals and the like.
We still receive support and guidance from Sharon in writing bids for our own company and it is good to know someone has ‘got your back’ when you need it.
Project Manager’s Observations
Eddy was very quiet when he first came to us and would often distance himself from group tasks and conversations. He was obviously a technical whiz and would busy himself with that side of the projects. However, as part of one of our drama projects he was encouraged to help write scripts and also became involved with acting. The transformation in him was amazing, and we discovered that he has a wicked sense of humour and a talent for acting alongside all the technical stuff. Seeing him start up his own business and become a great success is fantastic! He has great drive and vision and I know he is going to go from strength to strength.