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Case Studies

All about … YMCA’s peer support project, Mad 4 U

YMCA Sunderland runs a peer-led education project called Mad 4 U that educates young people and local agencies on the dangers of legal highs.

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Josh’s story … ‘How legal highs affected me’

‘When I was using Cannabis I was spending £40 a day and paying off hundreds of pounds of debts to drug dealers. Spice was cheaper, easy to get hold of and much more addictive. It only took me a week to get hooked’ – Josh, 23, from YMCA Fairthorne Group, in Southampton.

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‘I’ve seen what addiction to legal highs can do’ – Emily’s story

“I’ve seen what addiction to legal highs can do and it breaks my heart. I tried to persuade people I knew using them to get therapy but they kept choosing legal highs instead. In the end, I had to leave them all behind and move on. I haven’t seen that group of friends since,” Emily, 18, from the north east

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Paul’s story – ‘When I was taking legal highs, my life stopped completely’

“I was made homeless twice because of my addition to legal highs. It only took one or two tries for me to get hooked and I would warn everyone now against taking them. I just want to scare people into keeping away,” Paul, 27 from the north east

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‘Getting off legal highs was the hardest thing I’ve ever done’ – Stephen’s story

‘I had dabbled in Cannabis and I wanted to see what legal highs were like but I didn’t know how addictive they were. I had just finished college, I didn’t have a job and I was bored. I would still have bought them if they were banned; if anything, it would have made me more determined to get them,’ Stephen, 23, from Sunderland

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Jamie proves change can be made with the right support

Jamie Miller, 23, is an Apprentice Youth Worker at West Kent YMCA. In this personal blog, he talks about how his local YMCA has helped him to overcome his mental health issues and rebuild his life.

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Anton explains the challenges of being on benefits and training

“I’m 24-years-old and I’d like to have been living in my own place and to have a career by now” – Anton Taylor, a resident at YMCA Bedfordshire.

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Grace shares her experiences of accessing job centre services

‘It’s embarrassing going to the job centre. They need to pay more attention to the details and listen to what young people have to say. I’m a qualified beautician and they keep trying to send me on work experience. It’s rude’ – Grace, 23, a resident at YMCA Birmingham.

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Chloe explains the difficulties of training and being on Jobseeker’s Allowance

Chloe was just three days away from completing her carer’s training course when the news struck: her job centre benefits were about to be cut.

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Nathan discusses employment support offered to young people by the job centre

“The job centre is there to help but, often, there’s not a lot they can do. I was job searching with them for two years and, although I got work through them, it was never a career; they just wanted to get me off Jobseeker’s Allowance” – Nathan Tuley, 22, from YMCA Exeter.

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