The Connecting People Model in Action

The following case study is an example of the Connecting People Model in action within a Third Sector Service, working with individuals with learning disabilities, shown from the perspective of both the worker (Eric) and the individual (Jack).

Third Sector Service, Learning Disabilities

Eric:

When Jack first approached us, he wasn’t doing much and was outwardly angry and frustrated. He was bullied at school and had no friends and said it was because he was “different”. He had no self-esteem and was even alienating his family. We needed to put Jack at ease straight away because he was visibly upset about the state of his life, we thought  the best way to tackle Jack’s issues was to identify some opportunities for him to develop his own networks and then identify further resources. At first we tried to build a relationship by simply talking to Jack openly. We wanted to find out what he enjoyed doing and discovered that football was a passion for Jack. Someone I knew was already part of the local football team, so I utilised this contact and this person became a buddy for Jack and took him along to a football session. This proved to be a meaningful place for Jack to be and his confidence grew and grew, not only that but others started to see the assets in Jack. He has made friends and has discovered he is a good leader and teacher so has been looking into become a coach. This success has led to Jack seeking out more opportunities to become involved in the local community, and a new idea that Jack identified was going to a reading group. To begin with we weren’t sure what reading groups were available that Jack would be able to get to easily, so we contacted the library who knew of one that had just started a couple of months before. At first the leader of group seemed reluctant about Jack attending and seemed to have incorrect perceptions of what he would be like, however after talking with them and agreeing to go with Jack to the first session, the leader agreed and when they had spent some time with Jack, their attitude changed completely and they could see the great potential in Jack and were inspired by him. Attending this group enables Jack to be included in a totally different environment to the football club and we can see that it is turning out to be marvellous for his mental capacity and has led to all sorts of people realizing that he isn’t “different” at all!

Jack:

I was so annoyed when my family said they didn’t know how to be around me anymore, and I should “go see someone”. I thought they wanted to get rid of me so was really scared when I first went to meet Eric but when he explained that I could meet with him whenever I wanted to I felt much more relaxed. I felt I could speak with him really easily because he was so relaxed and friendly, that first meeting all we did was chat about what I liked doing! Looking back I just think how lucky I was to get the chance to meet him, and all the other people who worked there! I love my buddy! He helped me so much when I was feeling like I had nothing to live for. He found out that I like to play football every day and have found that I’m even good enough to teach other people. I took a football book to my book group and everyone loved it! I feel so excited to be sharing my love for football with lots of different people. It feels good to be able to know more about something than other people! I’m reading a book about a farm now which is totally new to me but I’m actually enjoying it, my friend from the reading group told me to read it, I’m glad I listened to her! My Dad says I have grown up a lot and I’ve started to feel a lot closer to my family lately. I love waking up in the morning and getting excited for what the day might bring.took a football book to my book group and everyone loved it! I feel so excited to be sharing my love for football with lots of different people. It feels good to be able to know more about something than other people! I’m reading a book about a farm now which is totally new to me but I’m actually enjoying it, my friend from the reading group told me to read it, I’m glad I listened to her! My Dad says I have grown up a lot and I’ve started to feel a lot closer to my family lately. I love waking up in the morning and getting excited for what the day might bring.

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