For Joe, fitting in was difficult. School wasn’t an easy space for him and he struggled to settle there.
“Joe would always be up and out of his seat,” explains Bonnie, Joe’s mum. “He’d be disrupting other children and the whole lesson really. He struggles with things like being organised too and social situations are challenging for Joe. He’s easily swayed by others and then he gets into trouble. It was worrying for Joe’s dad and me.”
Help came just in time, shortly before Joe moved on to senior school, when he was offered support from Phil, a TLG coach from the church in the neighbouring village.
“When Phil came along it was a huge release because I knew Joe would have someone to talk to if he was struggling that wasn’t me or his dad. Joe used to struggle sleeping. He’d be worried about the next day. But since Phil’s been meeting Joe in school, all that has changed. He sleeps better now because he knows that he’s got Phil supporting him and he gets so excited.”
Based in mid-Wales, Phil’s life working on a farm captured Joe’s attention immediately. Because of the friendship that’s grown between Phil and Joe’s parents, he’s been able to offer Joe some work experience on his farm.
“Joe absolutely loves helping Phil on the farm. He gets to do all sorts of interesting things like cutting the cows’ hooves. I can’t think of anything worse myself! Joe’s got a real passion for farming. He has done ever since we moved to Wales. Everyone on the farm has been amazed by his enthusiasm and energy for farm work. That’s been such a relief to me. When he’s struggled in school, I’ve worried how he’ll cope afterwards and whether he’ll be able to find work. Now I know that Joe’s got a future and that he doesn’t have to be academic.”
By simply getting alongside Joe in school each week, Phil’s support has meant so much to the whole family.
“It’s been a godsend to me because I know school is now a more positive experience for Joe. His school report is good and it says his behaviour’s good too. It could have been so different if he didn’t have Phil and I don’t think Phil understands how much he does to give Joe peace of mind. I can’t sing the praises enough of what’s being done for children who are like our son. To have somebody there for him, that’s not just me or his dad, I just appreciate it so much.
Phil is from a team of coaches at St Mary’s, a village church in Powys. With children struggling in rural areas as well as big cities, your church could transform lives through TLG Early Intervention. Click here to begin your journey with Early Intervention today.