Annie Before West London Zone When Annie was first identified for the West London Zone (WLZ) programme, aged eight, she was extremely shy and withdrawn. Her teacher expressed worry about her emotional and mental wellbeing, noting that she often seemed sad, but that she couldn’t get to the bottom of why she felt this way. Annie’s initial score on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a wellbeing measurement tool, was poor and she had suffered a significant mental health crisis previously. She struggled to make friends, had very low self-esteem and found social interaction highly stressful. Annie’s emotional state was having a big impact on her attendance at school and her academic progress. Her English and numeracy skills were below what is expected for an eight year-old. Annie’s WLZ Journey Once our Link Worker Robyn began to gain Annie’s trust, she opened up gradually about just how unhappy she was. As their relationship deepened, Annie confided in Robyn about wanting to ‘disappear’ and self-harm. Their weekly 1:1 meetings provided her with a safe space to write down and share how she was feeling. In regular communication with Annie’s parents and teachers, Robyn was able to ensure Annie was supported throughout this difficult time. She designed an individual two-year programme full of a wide range of activities and opportunities, to meet Annie’s needs and help her to build her confidence and skills, experience new things and feel happier. Robyn arranged for Annie to attend sessions with our partners Place2Be, who provide specialist mental-health counselling for young people. She also organised for Annie to try a wide range of new activities including street dance, cooking classes with our partners ‘Be Enriched’, and the ‘First Love Yourself’ Programme, which fosters empowerment for girls. More emotionally ready to learn, Annie’s work with TeamUp tutors then helped her to improve her maths skills. Classes with a local art club also unveiled a love of creativity that continues to today. After WLZ Over time Annie’s relationship with her Link Worker and her participation in all of these activities helped her to become more comfortable around others, develop self confidence and form new friendships - reducing her feelings of isolation. This development was reflected in her improved Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire score at the end of the programme. Annie’s academic progress during the two-year programme was also very positive. Her English, maths and attendance at school all increased to at or above expected levels. The future for Annie now looks significantly brighter. As well as her achievements in school, she has a network of people around her she can trust and confide in. She loves to draw and write stories, and continues to explore new creative outlets. Importantly, by working closely with Robyn throughout this time, Annie’s mum now feels able to reach out if she has any concerns at all about Annie’s wellbeing.