Laurence (not his real name), who is 54, has multiple disabilities including being neuro-divergent, making it sometimes very difficult for him to participate in group dynamics in a personally meaningful way. He came to Springboard with trust issues, low self-esteem, and a desire to find work whilst possessing a minimal work history.

Laurence attended  online Springboards for about a year during lockdown, (with a prolonged break when he felt unable to participate).

Laurence's main aim was to build up a rapport with other members of the group and to feel safe within that setting. Our staff recognised early on that a gentle, long-term approach would be essential to our work with Laurence. He responded well to an empathetic approach and being given space to talk about his issues, and this approach really helped to develop a better, more trusting connection, even within a group setting. Not only did Laurence feel more able to talk freely but he also started to share a joke with the other group members.

With that in place, we’ve been able to explore areas where Laurence needs additional support and for our Springboard Coordinator to discuss this with him and to refer onwards to that specialist support. To begin with, we offered support such as general employment advice and training. Through signposting, Laurence has received additional support from employment support agencies. Over time, he’s opened up about his anger issues and we’ve now reached a point where he can talk to the group about his feelings and has been happy for our staff to make an anger management referral.

The Springboard has become a place Laurence feels able to be himself in, a place where he belongs, which can be very difficult for any neuro-atypical individual.