At the time of referral, Dylan was living with his mum, grandma and two younger sisters. He had had a close relationship with his dad, until dad was sent to prison. This event had a serious impact on Dylan and his behaviour deteriorated. Mum was concerned that he would get drawn into antisocial behaviour by a gang operating in their council estate so wouldn’t allow him to play outside the house.
At school, Dylan spent most lesson-time outside of the classroom with a learning mentor. He was often getting in trouble for refusing to follow instructions, fighting with peers and being aggressive towards teachers. His one big passion was football and he was talented at it, however he was banned from the school team due to being overly-competitive and hot-headed. Despite having great potential, Dylan was at risk of being permanently excluded because of his challenging behaviour.
The Chance UK programme team matched Dylan with Nick, who shared his passion for football and played in a team himself. At the start of the mentoring, Dylan and Nick played a lot of football in the park, visited different football stadiums and went to see a match. Slowly, Dylan began to open up and Nick helped him to see that it was ok to talk about his feelings.
They worked on increasing his confidence by learning about positive competitiveness and accepting that it’s ok not to be good at everything. Nick used Dylan’s talent in sport generally and exposed him to many new sports such as fencing, badminton, rock climbing and swimming. These activities were more challenging for him, but, by persevering and trying hard, he experienced success. They also visited museums, went on a boat trip, visited the zoo and explored different London sights, as well as building regular library sessions into their mentoring where he learned to focus for longer periods of time.
By the end of the mentoring year, Dylan became much more confident speaking to other people and expressing himself. He matured a lot and was more independent, often taking the lead travelling on public transport.
Nick helped Dylan learn to control his temper. Dylan stopped getting into fights at playtime and school allowed him back in to class full-time. Much to his delight, he was allowed to join the school football team again. He completely changed his mind-set and is now driven to achieve in school; he is really looking forward to starting secondary school. Mum feels very proud of Dylan and can see all his personal strengths. Dad was released from prison and was able to attend the Chance UK Graduation ceremony with the whole family. It was a very proud moment for them all to watch Dylan graduate from the Chance UK mentoring programme.