As the largest charity for children and young people across the UK, Barnardo’s believes in children and young people – no matter who they are, what they have done or what they have been through. Our mission is to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable young people and we do so through over 1,000 services embedded in communities across the country.
Our vision is to realise Thomas Barnardo’s dream of a world where no young person is turned away from the support they need to achieve a positive future.
Lee, 19, has had a very chaotic life for someone so young. Born in Essex, he spent 7 years in Scotland before moving to England with his mum and brothers – but he never felt like he truly belonged. He went into care at age 16.
“I never felt like I fitted in when I was growing up, I was very different to everyone else. I was involved with the ‘wrong crowd’ and became violent to family. I ended up being sent to live with my uncle for two months to work with him. When I came back, I didn’t want to go back to my family, so I decided to live on the streets. I really didn’t want to do anything with my life and eventually I went into care.”
It was only when he was referred to Barnardo’s Academy that he was able to turn his life around. Lee completed a 16 week traineeship in dry lining and has been able to pursue qualifications in literacy and numeracy. He has also been able to develop essential life skills such as being organised and punctual at work, and the importance of working in a team.
“I love it. It has helped turn my life around. After completing my traineeship, I hope to go into the construction industry. I would love to be able to build homes. The Academy has given me structure and I feel a lot more stable. It has given me something to focus on, working hard, having a goal set in mind. It helps me forget everything else. I would say to other young people, who have been in a similar situation to me that please don’t give up, if you can push past that you will realise that there is more to life than sitting around doing nothing, playing video games and taking drugs. You can have fun working hard.”