Sport Relief money helped son deal with anger issues

Sports Relief Onside Funding

As one of the UK's biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to support some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the UK and around the world.

Midland Heart received £86,000 thanks to Sports Relief to deliver the ‘Onside’ project in partnership with The Albion Foundation. The project engages young people in Birmingham and Sandwell aged 14 and 15 who have been excluded from school in positive activities, while supporting them through the issues affecting their relationship with school.

Wrap around pastoral support for the young people and their families from an Intervention Worker helps to ensure their social and home environment doesn’t impede success within the school and workplace.

One family to benefit from the project is 15-year-old Matthew and his mum Caroline Parkes from Tipton. From an early age Matthew has shown signs of autism. He struggles with his temper, finds it hard to pay attention and has difficulty interacting with new people. As a result, mainstream school was a challenge and his erratic behaviour became so difficult to manage he faced expulsion. Worried sick about Matthew, it became impossible for mum, Caroline to hold down a job and she had to take four months off work with stress.

Over the last year, with the help of the project, Matthew has taken control of hisanger issues and started a school more adapted to his needs. The atmosphere at home is calmer and Caroline is receiving the support she needs to help her son flourish.

Caroline, said: “The situation was really bad. There wasn’t a day when I wasn’t down at the school for his behaviour, it was really out of hand.

“School has been his biggest obstacle, so since leaving and coming to the project he’s a different child. He is much calmer and his temper is less erratic.

“Matthew needs nurturing and not many people have the time to spend with him, but that isn’t the case here. Our intervention worker, Alex, works with Mathew on a weekly basis and when she says she is going to help him with something, I know she will and that is a massive relief.

“Alex has been a huge emotional support. There aren’t many days when we don’t speak to each other. She is the only constant support in our lives. Matthew is much happier and I’ve been able to return to work. I don’t know what we would have done without her. We are so grateful.

“Midland Heart is a lifeline for families so thank you to everyone raising money for Sport Relief this year to help keep projects like this running. It really does make a difference.”

To find out more about the 'Onside' project please click here.