A young person who struggles to socialise and was at risk of disengaging with his education recently enjoyed a fishing trip thanks to funding from West Mercia charity YSS.

Charlie*, a 14 year old, lives in an isolated rural community without clubs or groups for young people to take part in. He has a number of health issues which also restricts his ability to take part in a lot of activities, and as a result he finds it very difficult to join in with groups and socialise with peers.

Charlie, regularly spending all of his time at home on gaming machines and surfing the web, was referred to Divert by another support service working with his parents. Divert is a service run by YSS which provides one to one support to 13-16 year olds who are involved, or at risk of becoming involved in, the criminal justice system across West Mercia. It is a diversionary service aimed at young people who are displaying anti-social behaviour, have started to disengage with education and training and have little or no focus.

During a session with a YSS keyworker Charlie expressed an interest in fishing. As a result and in a bid to help Charlie to feel more confident and improve his skills in socialising, his keyworker, Chris Cosgrove, arranged a one to one fishing trip, which was run by Shrewsbury Town Council Youth Officer, Adam Purnell.

Chris said: “Thanks to funding from YSS I was able to arrange for Charlie to go fishing. He had a great time and even managed to catch nine fish, including carp, dace, roach, chub and perch, which he was really pleased about!

“Thanks to the trip Charlie now feels more confident and enthusiastic about taking part in activities and plans to join future fishing trips that Adam runs during the school holidays, and has also thought of other activities he may like to try.”

Lorraine Preece, YSS Chief Executive, said: “This is a great example of how one to one support can empower young people to make better choices, and can prevent minor issues from becoming bigger problems further down the line.

“We are thrilled to hear Charlie enjoyed himself whilst fishing and now has the confidence, with support from his keyworker, to join in with other groups which will provide him with valuable learning experiences as well as the opportunity to make friends and socialise with peers.”

To find out more about Divert, please click here, email [email protected] or call 07584 706 394.

*name has been changed