Ussama (name changed to protect his confidentiality) was a straight A student who had been accepted into all the universities he had applied for. However, involvement in county lines had broken down his relations with his family and left him suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.

Ussama’s Story

When his caseworker first met him, he had been arrested for possession of a knife and county line involvement. Timid and unable to speak up for himself, it took some time for his caseworker to build a relationship with him.

The caseworker took Ussama out for coffees several times a week and they would just sit and chat. Once Ussama felt more comfortable, he started to open up. It emerged that his county line involvement had led to trust breaking down between him and his parents.  They had put tracks on his Oyster card and phone so they could see where he had been each day and would pick him up and drop him back during his breaks between lessons at college. Ussama felt unappreciated and believed his parents hated him.

The caseworker explained to Ussama that his parents were being overly protective because they loved him and didn’t want to see him come to any harm. However, as this was holding Ussama back from making progress, he arranged a meeting with Ussama’s mother to build bridges between her and Ussama. The caseworker explained to her that Ussama was extremely sorry for what he had done and had realised it was a silly mistake. The caseworker said that Ussama was one of the best young men he had ever supported and persuaded her to allow Ussama to have his friends over so she could see for herself that he was associating with people who were positive influences.  The mother agreed to allowing his friends into the house and, over time, he was allowed to go on outings with them.

Ussama continued regular meetings with his caseworker who opened up about his own experiences of county lines, explaining why he now helped young people like Ussama. The trust between them grew even further as this showed Ussama that his caseworker was someone who genuinely wanted to help.  At each session, his caseworker reminded him that he is a straight A student and that he was proud of the progress he was making.  He took Ussama to play snooker and go bowling to build up his confidence and set him tasks to write down his goals and what he is doing to achieve them.

Over time, Ussama’s confidence grew and he became a much happier person. He can now hold eye contact with people when talking to them and voice his opinions. He is now getting on with everyone at home and his parent’s trust in him is restored.

Both Ussama and his mother have contacted the caseworker to thank him for everything he has done.  Ussama now realises that his family love him and they did what they did to protect him as they only want what is best for him.


Get the latest from the St Giles Newsletter

Receiving our newsletter will mean you will be the first to hear about the impact of our work. latest news, invitations to events and find out ways you can support us.