Case Study: Connexions
I was approached by a woman who was requesting help in the completion of some forms for her daughter who had been offered a place at college. The daughter, who shall be known as Emily, had also got support from Leeds GATE in applying for her college place. Emily needed to present her papers at college so she could apply for a grant to purchase essential items for her course. The items needed would cost up to £250.00. However the grant would only be paid out on the production of receipts. Emily’s mum could not afford to pay out such a large amount as her only income is benefits. We contacted connexions for some advice, who stated they didn’t know of any trusts or agencies that could help us.
I received a phone call from a young person’s advisor (PA) based within a school, asking how Emily was getting on. The advisor had previously worked with Emily at school. I stated that we were having difficulties securing some funding so that Emily could buy the essential items needed. I asked if she was able to offer Emily any assistance or perhaps put her in touch with an agency that could support her. I made it clear, that I wasn’t a youth worker, and I was unfamiliar with the advice and support that were available to young people. The advisor declined, and stated she wasn’t able to get in touch. She didn’t think connexions would be able to help either. However she did agree to speak to college to ask if there would be any other way that Emily could access the money and provide the receipts after purchasing the items. I was grateful for this and passed on the information to Emily and her mum. They then went on to approach the college, who told them they hadn’t heard of any such arrangement.
I contacted the PA again, and it took me 5 working days, several via voicemails and telephone messages to actually speak her. I explained what had happened and she assured me that she would be able to address the problem, and would contact me by the end of the day. The PA did, and issue has now been resolved.
I also supported another young person to access to funds so that they could go to college. Both these young women are clear examples of missed opportunities for engagement with young people.