A teenager suffering with anxiety has been given a helping hand to continue her education during the current lockdown.

Natasha Thomas, age 17, a former student at Ysgol Glan Clwyd, left school due to high levels of anxiety and low moods.

She was referred to Denbighshire County Council’s Working Denbighshire project and has now been provided with a laptop so she can complete online courses and work towards returning to education.

Natasha, who is bilingual and has achieved 10 A – C grade GCSEs, has been getting support through Working Denbighshire’s ADTRAC project, which supports young people aged between 16-24.

She said:

“Not having access to a laptop or computer has limited me for a while because partaking in online courses and writing emails is very difficult on a smartphone. Having this laptop is especially useful during these circumstances since life outside our homes has been put on hold.

“Being with ADTRAC has enabled me to take a break from education to improve my mental health while learning new skills and gaining new experiences. Attending courses has definitely helped with my anxiety, made me more independent and allowed me to gain new qualifications.

“Without ADTRAC I would be making the choice between staying in school and struggling or staying at home doing nothing.”

Working Denbighshire aims to reduce poverty by enabling people to access a network of services that supports them in their journey into or towards employment or education, and to maintain their position or progress.

Since 2017 the project has worked with more than 500 Denbighshire residents and is open to anyone over the age of 16 who is in, or is at risk of, being in poverty.

Support includes training leading to employment opportunities, help finding a job such as CV writing, applications and interview skills, work experience and volunteering opportunities, confidence building and motivation as well as regular advice and guidance from personal mentors.

Cllr Bobby Feeley, the Council’s Lead Member for Well-being and Independence, said:

“I’d like to congratulate Natasha on the hard work and enthusiasm she has put in to this project. The team didn’t want the progress Natasha had made to be affected by the lockdown, so securing funding for a laptop was a great way to allow her to continue progressing.

“Our principles with Working Denbighshire are to ensure the people of Denbighshire get the right support, at the right time and for the right reasons. We focus on people’s potential and not their problems and build on their strengths and not their issues.”

Natasha has also been given support with her CV, on-going one-to-one support sessions, and has completed a safeguarding course and a two-day paediatric first aid course.

Natasha, who is aiming to return to full time education in September, added:

I would definitely recommend Working Denbighshire to anyone struggling to get back into work or education. They have so much to offer which means they can find something that suits many different circumstances.”

Working Denbighshire is still providing employability support during this time and can be contacted on 01745 331 438, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or via https://workingdenbighshiredelivers.org

ADTRAC is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.