I struggled in school, and was getting myself mixed up in some pretty bad behaviour at my local interface with rioting and things like that. I had also been arrested a few times for stealing bikes.

When I became involved with Extern’s On the Right Track! Programme, though, it gave me the chance to open up to someone about my problems.

Slowly, I began to trust the team, and they supported me and my family when things got difficult. When the lockdown began we struggled financially and emotionally, but they were still there for us throughout it all.

Teenage boy smiling at camera at a rail station in an urban area.

The reason I had stolen bikes had been to help my mum out with money, but I can see now that there were other ways for me to find the help that we needed, without being judged. That’s why Extern’s Coronavirus Hardship Appeal was a big help to us when we needed money for the electric and to buy nappies for my baby brother.

"I’ve now gone back to studying, and while it’s still not easy for me, I’m feeling a lot better about it. I’m not involved with the courts anymore and I’m determined to stay out of trouble."

Probably the best thing to come out of the On the Right Track! Programme was being able to meet people just like me from the ‘other’ side of the interface. Through all the work we did, I’m now able to see that even with the cultural differences there are, we are still capable of living together.

John (16), On the Right Track! Personal Change Programme