Growing up, Casey found it hard to stay out of trouble. Engaging with our Fairbridge programme helped her believe in herself. She’s since become a part-time youth worker and outdoor activities instructor.
"Growing up was quite difficult really. Just always in and out of trouble with the police. I always struggled following rules and never liked people in authority. I was a very hyperactive and naughty kid. I was excluded from school all the time for not listening to the teachers, and started to get in trouble with the police from the age of 15."
"My family tried to keep me under control, but I didn’t really care about the consequences of my actions. They would always try to get me to behave by threatening to take away my stuff, but it didn’t work.
"At some stages I was at the magistrate's court three times a week. The people I hung out with from the neighbourhood were doing it too, so it just seemed normal to me. I think it was a mixture of peer pressure and trying to blank stuff out. I didn’t get what was right and was wrong. I didn’t realise how I affected other people.
"The best thing about being on the programme was having people who believed in me. They gave me positive feedback after every session which made me want to keep doing better. Other organisations I’d been involved just told me all the bad things I had done; The Prince’s Trust wasn’t like that. They saw beyond the front I put out, and pushed me to do well. I got diagnosed and medicated for ADHD; the programme helped me deal with it so I could think more clearly; they helped me see right from wrong.
"I started focusing on working with young people and began volunteering for the Youth Commission, and conducting research for the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
"Since then, I have become a part-time youth worker and I’m an outdoor activities instructor at Woodmill Activity Centre. Now when I see the police, it’s different. There was one specific officer, we used to hate each other, but now we really get along. I even recently helped the police to run their annual football tournament!
"I really enjoy helping young people develop and engaging them in things away from anti social behaviour. It’s rewarding. I want to help other young people at risk to see that they don’t need to throw a knife around; that there’s no need to get into trouble; that they can have a better life, like I now do. Without The Prince’s Trust, young people like me probably wouldn’t know where to turn to.
"In future, I’m hoping to complete my Level 2 coaching certificate so that I can become a development coach for The Prince’s Trust Myself. I was always told that I would never be able to work with young people because of my criminal record, but now I know that I can achieve anything.
"I wanted to show that offenders can actually change, and that’s what I did. I want to prove to everyone that once an offender, not always an offender – they can change and be positive and have a positive impact on the community and others around them.
Young offenders and re-offenders are often drawn from the poorest and most disadvantaged communities.* Through your support, you have helped us to return £155 million in value to society by helping young people into jobs and £403 million in value by reducing offending and re-offending over the last 10 years.
* Ministry of Justice (2010) Reoffending of juveniles: results from the 2008 cohort England and Wales. Ministry of Justice, London.