Names, images and some details have been changed to protect children's identities.
Jenny had a traumatic early childhood, which included significant neglect and suspected sexual abuse by a relative. Her father died last year and, since then her mother has struggled to cope, relying on Jenny’s older sister to parent the children, with the whole family moving into her two bedroomed flat.
Relationships at home are often very volatile and toxic and Jenny misses her father very much. She is struggling with anxiety, and school report that she has worryingly low self-esteem.
Jenny was very nervous to attend our projects and it took a long time to coax her onto our minibus and help her overcome her worries about being away from her mum. From the moment she arrived and saw our bouncy castle, she was smiling - she tried every activity and blossomed over the course of the week. She went home feeling especially proud of the fact that she had lead the other girls in her group on a nightwalk through the woods.
Over the week, she particularly enjoyed camping, bushcraft and horse riding, and, just as importantly, she also built strong relationships with our volunteers, talking at length with them about the challenges she is dealing with. It was clear that she felt comfortable and listened to and felt able to take a break from her responsibilities and enjoy time to play freely. Since the project, we matched Jenny with one of her Group Leaders as a Mentor for long term support. Jenny now rock climbs and has someone to share the load of her difficulties at home.