Ruby* was 16 when she had her son, having got a criminal conviction and transferred from school to the Pupil Referral Unit for bad behaviour. Initial home visits from Judith and Bekki from the Young Parents Programme revealed Ruby to be a shy and quiet young woman, who was worried about taking part in courses and groups. With lots of encouragement, Ruby attended an Arts Award course at which she excelled, achieving a Bronze Arts Award.
Coming out of her shell and making friends with other young parents, she started a maths course. She found it hard to concentrate, and got very frustrated when she couldn’t grasp concepts immediately, but was surprised to find she was capable of teaching others in the group. Having passed Level 1 maths, she sat the Level 2 exam but was disappointed not to gain the qualification. Bekki encouraged her not to give up and apply to go to college. Again Ruby was disappointed, as her previous criminal conviction prevented her from studying Health & Social care, but Ruby is now taking part in a ‘Shine’ self-esteem course.
Despite set-backs and barriers, Ruby’s confidence and resilience has grown and she says of Romsey Mill “Doing courses has been good as I didn’t really go to school. It’s helped me learn new things. It’s different from school, more laid back and fun, and the staff are really nice…they’re more understanding.”
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Photos are used with permission and do not necessarily reflect neighbouring text. Names marked * have been changed.