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Tom is 20 and lives with his mum and brother. He has autism and a mild hearing issue and suffers from anxiety. Tom got through school with level 1’s and 2’s in English and Maths and has been working 6 hours a week at his local convenience store.

Before starting with Inspire Tom says he lacked direction and was not sure what he wanted to do with his life. He also felt that both his autism and anxiety were holding him back and stopping him from seeking the help that he needed.

In April 2023 Tom’s work coach at the job centre mentioned Inspire and he began to work with Lisa a little later. At their first meeting, Tom and Lisa discussed a multitude of things including his overall wellbeing. After this discussion, Lisa suggested that Tom be referred to Inspire Wellbeing Service, which he did. Another thing that Lisa and Tom discussed was Tom’s interests, where Lisa learned about Tom’s interest in music. This led them to explore courses at college such as a performing arts course at Suffolk New College, but Tom quickly decided that this wasn’t the course for him. They also explored the options of work experience and volunteering with the likes of Leiston Film Theatre. Unfortunately for Tom, they didn’t have any opportunities at the time. This led them to go back to exploring college courses where they looked into Media or games and esports. From this, Tom liked the look of the media course and with Lisa’s support he applied.

Once Tom had been accepted onto the course he and Lisa looked into how he was going to get to the college. After looking into this they decided that the bus would be the best option. After this was decided to overcome his travel anxieties Lisa took a bus journey with Tom to Saxmundham and back to see how he got on. Lisa was also able to arrange for Tom to get a laptop through The Ropes Trust to support him in his studies as well as help to organise a travel bursary and apply for an EHCP.

Tom attended his taster day at Suffolk New College in June, on his travelling there and back by bus, which was a huge achievement for him. Since then, he has attended an interview with the course leader and attended the enrolment day again on his own, travelling to and from there by bus.

Tom is now attending Suffolk New College, to complete his Level 1 Media course as well as a Maths GCSE and English Functional Skills course. He has said that he is really enjoying being at college.

Tom has said that working with Inspire’s Youth Employment Service and Wellbeing Service has helped him to overcome his anxiety and how to deal with it better. He would like to thank Lisa for all her help and support throughout his time on YES.

Quote from Tom:

“I was really anxious when I first started working with Lisa, but due to her kindness I now feel much less anxious about doing new things.”