“Proud of my growth” – Three young people share their West London Zone journey

A lot can change in two years, especially for those children and young people on the West London Zone programme. Danny, Isabella, and Liliana share their journeys with us – they each have a story to tell. We also hear from their Link Workers, who play a vital role in their stories towards success.

  • West London Zone supports children and young people to build the skills and relationships they need to thrive
  • We use data and contextual information from schools and families to identify those who would benefit most from our support, before building a trusted relationship with the young person to create a personalised two-year plan 
  • In our video, we hear from three of these young people, who tell us in their own words what impact the programme has had on their lives

Building relationships with children and families – and listening to them every step of the way – is integral to what we do. It enables us to make a difference, and to have real impact. So when Danny, Isabella, and Liliana finished our programme, we wanted to hear from them; where they started from, how they felt about their growth, and what they liked most about their experience of the programme.

YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGx16ByARIg

Danny builds his academic skills 

When Danny first joined our programme, aged 8, he often struggled to understand his emotions, which left him frustrated, upset and unable to communicate effectively. He also found reading and writing challenging, which affected his confidence in the classroom; he rarely p

ut his hand up during lessons and wasn’t able to contribute to group activities.

All of the young people on our programme have a Link Worker, a trusted adult who acts not only as their champion but also coordinates resources and opportunities. Danny’s Link Worker was Charlotte, who immediately focused on building a strong relationship, working together to understand his strengths and interests.

One of the first support programmes she coordinated was Lego therapy, an evidence-based approach that uses children's natural love of Lego to help develop their communication and team-building skills. Danny joined in these sessions with two of his peers, which created a safe space to build his confidence. Charlotte then arranged for Danny to take part in some skills-based sessions with some of our delivery partners, such as football training with Queen’s Park Rangers, and circus skills with And Circus, both of which helped him to learn new things and test his perseverance - and of course have fun along the way.

Danny was now in a good position to start on the academic support sessions Charlotte had coordinated, such as twice-weekly sessions with The Children’s Literacy Charity, another one of our delivery partners. They provided tailored support for his reading and writing, and his belief in himself blossomed. As Danny’s love of reading grew, he even wrote his own book about his favourite footballer! 

“Danny has made fantastic progress. He is now a completely engaged, independent reader and writer. He’s a wonderful learner…wherever he’s going, he’s going there!” 

Jill, Children’s Literacy Charity Facilitator

Click here to hear Danny tell his story

Isabella’s story of growth

Not being able to speak up for yourself or try new things because of anxieties is something that we might all relate to. This was the challenge for Isabella; her nerves would often get in the way when answering a maths question in class, or prevent her from tackling a piece of writing. This in turn had an impact on her self-belief, and ultimately her academic progress at school.

Her Link Worker, Joyce, had identified this link early on, and started the programme by taking her through the “You are Awesome” journal, a non-fiction book written by Matthew Syed used for building self-confidence and developing a growth mindset. Joyce then organised support sessions with a number of our delivery partners, from maths tuition with Team Up, to learning woodwork (and the value of self-worth) with The Reclaimed Project. Isabella’s favourite sessions were with The Jen Group, who gave Isabella the chance to explore her feelings and bond with other girls who were sharing the same experiences.

These support sessions saw Isabella flourish throughout the programme. Her confidence, resilience and self-belief grew, and The Jen Group facilitator, Joy, told us how she sees Isabella leading her own girl-led support spaces in the future. Progressing in maths and English, armed with the tools to help her manage her emotions, she is in a much stronger position both emotionally and academically to take on the transition to Year 7. 

“Now that Isabella has finished the programme, she is ready to take on the next step - she’s just going to blossom.”

 Joy, Jen Group Facilitator

Click here to hear Isabella's Story of Growth

Liliana’s journey to confidence 

At the beginning of filming, Liliana reflected on how she had always struggled to communicate with her teachers, which in turn affected how she felt about her school work – she often left tasks unfinished, and (outwardly) lacked interest in learning.

Her Link Worker, Fatima, recognised that communication was going to be key in their relationship, and that working collaboratively would support Liliana much more on her journey to confidence. They worked together to set some goals, before enrolling Liliana on one of our own programmes, Thinking about Thinking. Devised by West London Zone, this builds confidence in how the student approaches their learning. As Liliana started seeing tangible achievements like her improving grades, she was encouraged to take on bigger challenges, like attending a residential trip to one of our delivery partners, Jamie’s Farm. This is a fantastic opportunity which allows young people to get a taste of farm life, looking after animals, cooking for their team members, and generally immersing themselves in a bit of rural life. This was an absolute highlight for Liliana.

Fatima’s continual support and the programmes that Liliana engaged with saw Liliana become open to explore new ways of doing things, gained tools and techniques to be assertive, and is now a confident leader amongst her peers. As she takes on her GCSEs next year, we’re so excited to see what she accomplishes next.  

“Liliana is so much more confident now. She’s assertive but in a really positive way, she is able to speak to members of staff and other adults in her life about how she feels and has become a really positive leader in her friendship group as well.”

Fatima, Link Worker

Click here to listen to Liliana's story

Onwards and upwards

When meeting Danny, Isabella and Liliana, we were impressed with how confident they were in front of the camera and pleased that they wanted to share their stories with us. But we are proud of all the young people that complete their West London Zone programme, and all that they accomplish throughout it. Their stories are testament to the joined up approach that we take, which sees Link Worker, young person, family, schools and local resources work together with one goal in mind – to close the opportunity gap that many children and young people in West London face.

A special thank you to Joy Goddard, Jen Group Facilitator and Jill from the Children's Literacy Charity for being featured in this film

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together, every child and young person can flourish.