We were referred to CXK’s Get Connected programme by Wilson’s disability social worker. He had a goal setting meeting with Oscar (the Get Connected Mentor) and Rhys (the Get Connected coordinator) before he started the programme where we talked about what Wilson wanted to achieve and he wanted to work on his confidence, socialising and being himself.
Before the programme, Wilson was doing nothing. It was a very isolating time for him. He had no connections to his peers due to not being in school. He was always at home. We tried some clubs such as martial arts – unsuccessfully, as Wilson would get overwhelmed.
On Get Connected, Wilson really enjoyed being a kid and not being stuck with adults. The programme gave him a chance to be a child and explore himself. Wilson really enjoyed the VR and the range of activities available to him during the 20 weeks.
Wilson found having a mentor helpful to start the connections on his behalf. The mentor would get involved and start conversations and activities, allowing Wilson to get involved with things that he wanted to do but didn’t feel quite confident enough to.
Get Connected has provided Wilson with the lived experience that he can do the activities and get involved where he was unsuccessful before, which is invaluable. He now knows that he can do it and can be more optimistic about new opportunities. Wilson has learnt that he can be accepted and it’s okay to be himself. He just needs a bit of help.
Wilson now has the confidence to re-join martial arts. We are going to trial a few soon as well as more clubs and things to enrich Wilson’s life.
If I had to give advice to anyone in the same position, I’d say “give it a try”. You’ve got to give it a try. You’ll find something that works. The understanding and patience that Get Connected had was fundamental to the programme working as it did for Wilson. It’s a big success.