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This is a unique body of work, funded by the Colyer Fergusson Charitable Trust, investigating what is preventing young people in Kent from getting on in life.

 

Read their stories, watch their films and digest their views written in the policy report.

Impact Of Abuse

 

Calli Marie Brighton was taken into care at the age of seven. 

 

She spent the next fourteen years in and out of foster homes, never staying in one place for more than eighteen months, and relying on music to help her deal with what she had experienced. 

 

Now, the 25-year-old has teamed up with Fixers to create a music video for her song Straight up now it hurts as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the long term effects of abuse.  

 

"I don’t want anyone else to think that being silent is the right thing to do because in the long run it’s not; it’s best to deal with it then and there, or it can escalate into more problems."

Dream Big

 

Liam Todd wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but wants to show how humbler beginnings don’t have to be a barrier to success.

 

He has teamed up with fixers to create a film encouraging young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and not be put off by what can seem to be a daunting task.

 

Since the age of 16, Liam has been working on his own clothing brand, English Pharaohs, which he says is tailored towards urban lifestyles.

 

"I want to show people from less privileged backgrounds and people with anxiety, that they can do anything they put their minds to, and live out their dreams."

Find A Mentor

 

Adeola Gbakinro, 22, from Bexley in London has been so impressed with her experience of mentors, she wants other young people to have the same opportunity.

 

Fixers has helped Adeola make a short film encouraging young people to seek out a mentor.

 

She hopes to become a mentor herself one day and help young people in the same way she has been helped.

 

"When I was younger I didn’t know anyone in the field I wanted to go into and so when I was told I could get a mentor I thought that would be amazing because they would have experience they could share with me. I’ve learned that it’s ok to be yourself, that you don’t have to be at a certain level in terms of your education or experience. And they are always there to help you."

They're Still Human

 

Emily Lumley adored her Granddad, John Lear, who became a father figure to her when her dad left.

 

The 17-year-old, from Maidstone in Kent, has fond memories of being chased around the house by him and watching his funny jazz hands dance.

 

But as John grew older he fell victim to the cruel memory disease Alzheimer’s and his family watched him slowly deteriorate until his death last year aged 81.

 

She hopes raising awareness of the disease will help other families not feel alone.

 

"If you know someone that is dealing with any kind of dementia do not be frightened of them and treat them like a human being. This disease is not a choice and there is no cure. They need to know their friends will be there for them, that they will not shy away or distance themselves."

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Be Your Hero

 

Asa Taylor suffers with anxiety. Nasty bullying at both primary and secondary school; trouble at home and a relationship breakdown have all contributed to his poor mental health.

 

But Asa is refusing to let it define him.

 

The 24-year-old from Maidstone has designed a comic book for other people suffering with anxiety.

 

He hopes it will help people take a positive step in the right direction in tackling their mental health.

 

"Superheroes take pain and suffering and turn it into a force of power – that is what I have done."

Better Buses Required

 

Stranded in rural villages with just one bus a day. This is the reality for many young people living in the Romney Marsh area of Kent.

 

Fed up with poor connectivity, inconvenient timetabling and expensive tickets, a group of young people have decided to take action in a bid to improve the public transport in their area.

 

They have made a spoof video using a skeleton sitting in bus stops around the Marsh area.

 

Adrian Thornton-Smith, 22, is one of the young people affected by the problem. He doesn’t drive and is therefore reliant on buses to get around.

 

"For a lot of young people the buses are a necessity and not having a decent service can affect them a lot."

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Gay?

 

Katie Grant remembers having very few people to turn to when she was questioning her sexuality.

 

The 17-year-old from Sittingbourne turned to the online community for advice, and remembers watching YouTubers in a bid to understand her emotions.

 

Eventually Katie broadcast a video on Facebook when she was 13-years-old, telling her friends and family she was bi-sexual.

 

She has now teamed up with Fixers and designed a keyring to help others show people they are part of the LGBBTQ community.

 

"I hope this inspires people to be true to who they are and be open to the idea of telling the world about something they are passionate about."

Lose The Labels

 

Two friends from Ashford, Ellie Davies and Mason Wheaton, confess to feeling much happier since deciding to stop dressing to fit in.

 

They want young people to stop feeling like they have to wear expensive brands and conform to certain stereotypes - which can lead to bullying and tensions at home.

 

Mason, 24, adds social media is constantly broadcasting unrealistic expectations directly in to the hands of vulnerable young people. He hopes their film will make others realise it's not all about the labels.

 

"I decided I wanted to find my own style. Nobody should be labelled. We are individuals not categories. People assume you have to dress a certain way to be friends with people, which isn’t the case at all."

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Supporting Young Carers

 

Sophie Drogomirecki's childhood wasn't like other young peoples. From a young age she had to care for her parents.

 

The 20-year-old from Maidstone was supported by the charity Crossroads, which organised trips and groups during the school holidays.

 

But at secondary school Sophie struggled to juggle the responsibilites of being a young carer with lessons. At times she felt teachers didn't always understand her role as a carer.

 

She has now designed a wristband for other young carers to wear at school. It is reversible, so the wearer can choose when to show the words ‘I Am A Young Carer’ and when to show the words ‘Awesome, Confident, Legend.’

 

"My childhood was really tough. Having two parents with mental health problems and physical disabilities took its toll on me."

Rainbow Connections

 

For Kayleigh Clinton, the prospect of coming out to her family was terrifying.

 

But when she finally told them that she was a lesbian, the 17-year-old got such a positive reaction that she wished she hadn’t worried so needlessly.

 

So Kayleigh has made a film with Fixers to spread the message that coming out doesn’t have to be a big deal.

 

"I want to help people to assess their situation, so they can figure out for themselves whether it’s safe for them to be open with the people they are around"

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Invisible Illness

 

Despite suffering crippling pain on a daily basis, Leanne Hardy says people often question whether she is really ill.

 

She may look like any other healthy teenager, but she was actually diagnosed with a complex genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome when she was 12.

 

Fed up with people being dismissive towards her because she doesn’t ‘look’ unwell, Leanne has devised a leaflet with Fixers to educate people on invisible illnesses.

 

"I don’t want to be treated any differently because I’m disabled, I just want to be treated like a human being who sometimes needs a little bit of help."

Be Yourself

 

She is on a mission to spread positivity and promote uniqueness amongst young people.

 

Esther Bamuyi wants to empower her peers to feel confident to be themselves.

 

She has made a film with Fixers called ‘Embrace Your Individuality’ which features her self-penned spoken word piece.

 

"We all have our own place in society and we should all celebrate each other."

Silent Suffering

 

Marcus Allen experienced a period of severe depression when he was studying for his GSCEs.

 

With suicide the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK, he is highlighting the warning signs that someone might be feeling suicidal.

 

He has made a film to encourage young people to talk to their friends if they think they are feeling low.

 

"Showing them that you care might give them a reason not to take their own life in the most extreme of cases."

Perspective Art

 

Just the thought of leaving the house on her own can fill Shannon Cole with dread.

 

For she suffers with anxiety, a mental health condition which has cast a shadow across her life.

 

Shannon has created a therapeutic workbook with Fixers to help other young people with anxiety to relax and reflect.

 

"Life with anxiety is hard, it's like I'm trapped and there's no way out."

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The Lucky Ones

 

Born in Eritrea, Daniel Habte lived in fear as he grew up. 

 

At the age of 14, he fled the north east African country in search of a better life after a number of his friends were forced to join the army, never to be heard from again.  

 

Living in the UK since 2015, he has made a film to inspire young people here to realise just how fortunate they are.

 

"Take advantage of the opportunities given to you instead of taking this life for granted."

Tornado in my head

 

Violently attacked at random on two separate occasions, Jordan Mothersole has experienced devastating flashbacks and trauma ever since.

 

While his physical injuries healed, the mental scars remain and he was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 

Jordan has made a film with Fixers to raise awareness of the mental health condition.

  

"Suffering with complex PTSD has made me feel lonely and isolated.  I just want to help and support people who are in the same situation as me."

Toxic Relationships

 

Owen Shore was shocked when he witnessed friends relationships in sixth form.

 

I remembers girls being picked as an accessory and others being desperate live the perfect life they saw on social media.

 

The 19-year-old from Canterbury, has made a film which he hopes will help young people spot a toxic relationship and take action before things deteroriate.

 

"My message is really think it through before you decide to get in to a relationship and stand up for yourself and your views. It's about mutual respect."

Suffering In Silence

 

When exam pressures started to build so did Anna Maria’s anxiety.

 

She remembers beginning to feel anxious in Year 10, then her grades started dropping, and in Year 11 Anna Maria Dean felt so low she considered hurting herself.

 

The 17-year-old has made a video, based on a real-life event, in a bid to help teachers and other young people recognise the signs of someone suffering with anxiety.

 

"As cliche as it sounds try talking to someone. You may need to look for that person. Try and find some sort of relief from the pressures, it will give you the motivation to keep going."

 

 

Fixers is a project of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and featured on ITV.

Charity No 298643    Company No 2194957