Harriet grew up in North Leatherhead, living with her single mum and two older brothers. Her brothers had both attended LYP projects and had really enjoyed being involved with the charity, so Harriet got involved as soon as she was old enough, attending the BFree Youth Café, Freestyle residential and Girls Group among other projects.
Harriet was a very friendly and capable girl but began to be bullied when she stopped socializing with her previous friends who were getting into trouble and doing things that Harriet didn’t want to get involved with. As a result, they started trying to isolate and embarrass her which went on for a long period of time. This had a huge impact on her confidence and self-esteem. During this time Harriet was offered support through the LYP One to One counselling service, meeting once a week in school to help her recover from the bullying and rebuild her confidence and self-esteem.
Unfortunately, during this time Harriet experienced an even greater set back when her dad was diagnosed with cancer. Harriet helped care for her dad, who moved back in with them at home, and she sometimes had to take time off school to look after him. It was difficult trying to balance caring for her dad with completing all her GCSE work, and things became even harder when he passed away the same year in the middle of year 11. The ongoing One to One counselling support Harriet was receiving at this time was essential for her, with LYP able to offer this on a long-term basis. They were able to shift the focus of their work from confidence and self-esteem to discussing the loss of Harriet’s dad, and this helped her talk about her loss and cope with the grief.
Throughout this difficult journey Harriet continued to stay involved with LYP and as well as helping her get through a difficult time it also opened up some great opportunities for her. Particular highlights include being a young leader on a trip to Romania, running an activity camp with Roma Gypsy children, and leading a group of young people on the two-day ‘Into the Wild’ expedition, including a trip to the Brecon Beacons.
The latest chapter for Harriet has included her gaining a bursary to Freemen’s School, where she is now in Sixth Form studying Chemistry, Biology and Geography. Alongside this she also works as a supervisor for AllSaints Coffee Shop, our social enterprise, where you can come and chat to her on a Saturday!
Harriet’s story is a great example of how young people can engage with LYP, gaining support for whatever stage of their journey they are at. We at LYP are immensely proud of Harriet and we are fully behind her as she takes her next steps and sets her aspirations high.