Sarah & Duncan's story*

When Duncan and his mum, Sarah, were referred to Sova, their relationship had broken down and tensions were high. Duncan’s attendance at school was below 57%, he was at risk of offending and there was a level of anti-social behaviour happening within the house, which had the potential to escalate in to the local community.
A history of domestic violence at the hands of Duncan’s father had resulted in learnt behaviour and Duncan assaulted his mother as a way to try and control their relationship.
Sova invited Sarah and her son, Duncan, to attend a team-building course. Duncan showed himself to be shy, lacking in confidence and very disruptive, refusing to participate in any of the activities. Having witnessed this, Sova were able to assess what support both Sarah and Duncan might benefit from. Sova referred Sarah to ‘Parenting Support’ to help her rebuild boundaries and effectively address Duncan’s behaviour in and out of the home. Sova supported Duncan and matched him with a Sova Volunteer mentor, Mick. This allowed Duncan and his mother to take a break from one other and grow as individuals.
Sova, didn’t stop there, to further work on their relationship, Sova provided Sarah and Duncan with the opportunity to start an Arts and crafts course. Despite Duncan still having problems at school, in just three short weeks Sova started to see a positive change in his behaviour - he became a lot more relaxed, was excited to take part in the activities and started to enjoy mixing with other young people. Sarah was looking a lot less stressed and told Sova staff that Duncan was eager to attend the course and was enjoying doing something different.
Over the next few weeks Duncan’s behaviour calmed down and his relationship with mum was steadily improving. Sarah had been putting boundaries in place to give Duncan some consistency, to make clear what was expected
of him and the consequences of his behaviour, both good and bad. It was hard work but it was worth it as Sarah began to regain control.
Over the next couple of months Duncan and Sarah continued to work as one and in teams with others - they were enjoying spending quality time together having fun, and even made friends with a local family. Since joining Sova, Duncan and Sarah are like different people – their home life is less disruptive, they have fewer problems with the neighbours, Duncan’s attendance at school has improved, and there is a noticeable difference in the way they interact with one another. Sarah tells me how well they are getting on and feels Duncan is a lot more relaxed, confident and happy within himself and in the company of others.
The changes are both psychological and physical - Sarah is taking care in her appearance and appears much healthier, and Duncan is growing into a healthy young man and is always smiling. He communicates well with his mum, staff and volunteers, and is polite, well mannered and more than willing to help out where possible.
Sarah feels that they’ve made a complete u-turn and is excited to make plans to save some money, move house and perhaps even take a holiday.
* Identities have been changed throughout.