X became involved in the Ambition Arts and Sports Project during evening sessions based at a local Youth Centre. These were open sessions in which young people could come and learn new skills at their own pace. The sessions were youth focussed and allowed the young people to make changes to the sessions when they saw fit.

X became had already been involved in the Arts sessions. During one of her breaks with our Drama workshops, she dropped into our open sports session to meet chat with friends already there. Within a short time and with minimal encouragement needed she was fully engaged within the session.

Every week from then on X would return for the last part of each session, gradually coming earlier and earlier each week, until she was splitting her time between the sport and art sessions equally. Both sports and arts workers were able to help her engage and relax, gradually allowing her to talk about some of the issues she had been facing. She had been dealing with depression and self-harming for some time.

We used sport and art to encourage her to be more involved in sessions, assist in the planning of what we did and assist in running the sessions. This in turn increased her self-confidence and her determination in completing activities. We were able to increase her confidence so much that she became an Art and Sport Ambassador for DYA. This role included helping to set up equipment, and assist in the delivery of sessions. We also realised that X had a fantastic ability to sing, and play the guitar, which we used as yet another vehicle to increase her confidence and self-esteem. With encouragement and guidance she was teaching other young people to play the guitar and had become an integral part of the DYA Ambassador Team. The work we had been doing with X culminated when we put on 10 weeks of Parkour sessions. Parkour “is the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing”.

She excelled at this, met more people and developed more social skills. X attended all 10 sessions we ran and became a member of the Young Person Coaching Team which we developed to train Junior members. , She had grown in confidence so much that she identified a group of girls who were not fully involved in the session.  With her relaxed manner and understanding attitude towards the girls, she built a rapport with them and within no time they were also fully engaged within the sessions.

Although the Ambition project is now finished X is still teaching other young people at the youth club to play guitar and is still singing.

We also found that with this new determination and her increased self-confidence  she no longer felt the need to self-harm and she was strong enough to stop.  Her self-esteem has risen so much that she has created her own YouTube channel where she sings and plays her own  music, and she is still a prominent figure in the sports hall each night, breaking down the barriers for other female participants to join in.