4Uth 2019 winners

Connor Cherry-Evans, 15, Mansfield

Connor lives near Mansfield. He was nominated for this award by Linda Knighton and Paul Palmer, who are county council care workers. Connor was nominated because of the way in which he has worked through a traumatic period of disruption in his life, compounded by disability, to have hopes of a more positive future.

Paul and Linda explain: “Connor has managed to overcome many difficulties in his young life including, through no fault of his own, being taken into care, coping with family breakdown, a devastating move away from his neighbourhood and cultural background, mental anguish and fear of the future.”

Connor has epilepsy and ADHD and must take medication for these conditions. He has moved around the country several times, while in care. This adversely affected his education and development, as he had to cope with teenage fears as well as a lack of stable relationships. Connor has been faced with lots of challenging situations in life that do not affect many other teenagers, and he had a record of going missing from care, before he arrived at his present home.

Connor has worked hard to overcome these barriers and turn a difficult situation around. He is working hard at learning new skills and is taking his educational opportunities seriously.

Linda and Paul continue, “Connor no longer disappears from care because he feels that he has the support and the attention he requires. He is currently learning life skills that will stand him in good stead for the future and is enrolled in mainstream education, after many years out of formal education. He had missed a great deal of his education and lacked self-esteem and confidence. Now Connor has a private tutor who teaches him maths, English, science and other subjects.

“He has a flair in art and can produce brilliant drawings of animals and other things. He has become greatly enthused, openly showing his schoolwork to carers and others because he is so proud of what he has achieved.

“Connor was open about the fact that violence was prominent in his life, but he has achieved a remarkable turnaround. He recently visited the Holocaust Centre at Laxton in Newark, and this historical record of terrible events made a lasting impression on Connor, who recognised how violence can destroy and permanently scar humanity.

“Connor has become happier, brighter, smarter in his appearance and he has a desire to learn. He is getting help for his mental health through talking to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). He loves his Dad who now has a home in the Ilkeston area and they are both determined to make a life together. Connor and his Dad are decorating the house and choosing furniture and furnishings together”.

Linda and Paul conclude, “Connor and his Dad are working towards living together as a family which for Connor is amazing, as he has only ever known family conflict.

“Connor has shown by turning his troublesome behaviour around that he can now be a valuable member of the local community. He looks forward to the day when his Dad and he will be living together.”

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, said: “Connor’s story shows how, with the right support, young people can turn their lives around. He has rightly been recognised by being one of this year’s 4Uth finalists.”

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