Sophie joined Launch Pad Medway in August 2019 via Anya Outreach for The Princes Trust, she was matched with Nikki Tutt, Medway CXK mentor, from the outset it was very apparent that Sophie was a very engaging, hard working and friendly person.
Sophie had recently been given a diagnosis of autism when she joined. She states she always felt ‘a bit different’ and couldn’t understand why she reacted in certain ways, with this diagnosis it was like having a weight off her mind, she was ready to move forward in her life.
Sophie has fully engaged with Launchpad. She has attended many in house training sessions with me, Claire Marshall, ESN/KATO on various employability skills knowledge including apprenticeships, interview prep, CV & application support to name but a few. She also attended a Talking Tour/inspirational conversation at Medway Heritage in Rochester and has been a pivotal member of a group named ‘R2R’- ‘Reflections to Reality’. R2R was initially facilitated and developed with myself and Tricia/Dahlia at MVA support as the purpose of the group was to engage isolated young people across Medway, the small but enthusiastic group developed the name, objectives, target audience and how to engage young people. Sophie was one of the integral parts to enable this fantastic group to grow. ‘R2R’ are still going strong using an online presence – I myself applaud Sophie and the group for maintaining this, especially throughout lockdown. She also has attended bespoke days within Launchpad including Meet Joe/Joanna, First Aid, Party & Paint held at Sittingbourne, River rodents….
I must express Sophie’s engagement with her mentor Nikki Tutt CXK; Nikki worked and supported Sophie in enabling her to build upon her self-confidence, self-knowledge and encouraged her to see her own potential with a positive mentor relationship. Nikki supported her in her application for an apprenticeship at KCC. Both Nikki and I would always call on Sophie to run past when we had ideas for the group; her feedback was vital.
Below is a paragraph from Sophie about her time on Launchpad……..Proof is in the pudding!
I joined LaunchPad in August of 2019 and instantly felt like I’d been part of the group for ages. I made friends with the other young people there, I was respected by the group leaders Claire and Nikki, and I just all around had a very warm welcome into the group.
After receiving a long awaited Autism diagnosis just a week or so prior to joining the LaunchPad team, I finally understood myself more and what I wanted from life, and so I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and made sure I was taking advantage of what LaunchPad had to offer. That included trips out to places such as Sittingbourne, and all of the courses that were held at the main hub too.
Both Claire and Nikki took that into consideration and made sure I was involved and comfortable with whatever I was doing and never treated me as less than, and honestly without those two and the kindness from the other young people, I don’t think I would have improved as much as I have today.
One thing that I found the courage to do was public speaking. I have never liked the idea of it as I know I would just freeze up on the spot, but during the LaunchPad celebrations event that went on in December of 2019 and the weeks leading up to it, I’d decided to get up on stage in front of roughly 100 people and speak about my experience of the four months I’d been a part of LaunchPad. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but it truly showed how much I’d improved since joining the team!
As of writing this I am 5 days away from starting an apprenticeship in the IT Admin industry and I’m so so excited, and again I couldn’t have done it without the amazing group that is LaunchPad and Claire and Nikki.
Note from Claire (and Nikki in her absence) to Sophie –
You are an amazing individual and we are bursting with pride about your apprenticeship. A HUGE well done, Cantium Business solutions are lucky to have you as their new IT/Administrator apprentice.
You show that you can achieve if you work hard, are open to suggestions and try. Your personality and warmth explode in a room, I shall really miss spending time working with you however ‘you’ve got it girl’, all our utter respect. Claire & Nikki.
P.S …..”here’s a little song I wrote, might want to sing it note for note, DON’T worry, be HAPPY” X