Looking Ahead With Confidence

It’s vital that on turning 18, young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) have a plan which allows them to look to their future with confidence and clarity, writes Fiona Mitchell.

Transitioning from school to college or work can be a challenging time for most young people. This is especially true for those with mental health issues, and/or SEND. That’s why Crossroads Care provides a transitional project, working with young people from as early as 15 years old, that focuses on things like community experiences, college/career counselling and independent living skills, offering them a clear pathway ahead.

If they’re interested in a particular career, or internship, Crossroads helps them explore and overcome challenges that may prevent them from achieving a positive transition. The charity aims to empower young people to reach their individual goals, identifying and matching their skills to employment and career prospects. It also helps with CV and personal statement writing as well as work experience and interview/travel skills.

Sophie, 22, who is now a Young Ambassador for Crossroads Care, is just one of the many young people supported by Crossroads who has taken part in this project. 

Sophie, a young carer who has autism, initially joined our Saturday Club more than 10 years ago. The club is a safe space for 8-18-year-olds with SEND to help build self-esteem, make friends and take part in an array of skill-building and sportive activities.

Sophie, who is now working as a teaching assistant in a local school, says: “The Saturday Club and Transition Project changed me so much. I learned so many skills that helped me to get a job. Crossroads Care staff have helped me communicate with people, make new friends, and feel included.”

Crossroads Care CEO, Julie Da Costa, says. “We work diligently over many years with our young people, providing them with opportunities to learn new skills while boosting their confidence – all positive experiences that they will carry with them into the future.

“Young people with SEND have so much to give, and offer employers. It’s a particular highlight of our work to help prepare young people to be independent, aspire and reach their full potential.”

If you would like to learn more about our services, work at one of our community-based projects or core services, or become a Friend of Crossroads, visit crossroadscarerk.org or phone 0208 943 9421.

Fiona Mitchell is Media and Communications Officer at Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston. She is also the author of two novels, The Maid’s Room and The Swap.

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