It is not often that the issue of county lines produces any good news. However, one young man we have helped to safely leave a county line and rebuild his life is celebrating today (23 August) after receiving his GCSE results.
Liam (name changed) was referred to us after being heavily exploited and becoming entrenched in county lines. He was one of the top ranking members of a group oflocal boys who were either involved in county lines or on the cusp of it.
When we first met Liam, he carried a blade everywhere for his own protection and was constantly smoking cannabis. He often went missing and had been caught with heroin, crack cocaine and large amounts of cash. His behaviour had become so volatile that he was not able to regularly attend the alternative provision school he was placed in. Support services were at a loss as to how to deal with the situation.
Under constant threat and feeling trapped, Liam was exhausted but could not see a way out of his current situation. Our caseworker carried out patient, persistent work with Liam to unravel his problems and build himself back up, helping him realise that he could get his young life on track once more.
She worked closely with his social worker and kept in daily contact with Liam to help him reduce his drug use and build bridges with his family. She also liaised with the authorities to help him get back into education and brought him school books – encouraging him to read for an hour in the bath every day.
Steadily, Liam started to make progress and with the continued support of his caseworker was able to sit his GCSEs. Today (23 August) he received the results – he has passed 5 GCSEs at grade D or above. He has also been clear of drugs for the last three months and is still reading regularly!
Liam’s caseworker reports he is a changed person from when she first met him. He is now looking forward to starting a vocational training course in September.