“MYZ is a safe space for me to meet other professionals who I am involved with and the staff here have helped me be open and honest and given me the confidence to manage things – they get me!”

Kane, 20

Kane was born in Crumpsall hospital and has lived all his life in the area. He has had an exceedingly difficult home life and due to his Autism remaining undiagnosed for years his school life was problematic too. He grew up feeling that no one listened to him, understood him, or cared for him in a way that he wanted and needed.  

Throughout his life Kane has struggled to communicate how he feels, due to his home and school circumstances and always seen by others including peers, as problematic and attention seeking. At primary school he remembers Mrs Costin who was a lovely lady and that she tried, but feels that teachers didn’t listen, no one listened or even tried to understand his needs. He spent his secondary school days in the isolation unit most days and he struggled to learn life skills, develop his language skills, or improve academically. Kane developed a love of comedy and often played the comedian as a way of coping.  

Kane came to MYZ first when he was about 10 years old on a school trip from St Edmunds School on a MYZ open day in the early days of MYZ. He quickly became a member joining the evening sessions which he attended regularly until he was about sixteen. He was not the most sociable and did not do very much at the start, he loved basketball and being somewhere other than home. Kane continued to challenge himself during these sessions and with the support of staff became a more active member. He became a young leader attended drama workshops and the rising stars project alongside being the go-to young person leading tours of the building, meeting, and greeting patrons or visitors. 

He started at Northridge College, where he was able to undertake work experience at Beefeater and Royal Manchester Hospital which he thoroughly enjoyed as Kane loves to speak with people and “make their day.” Then covid and lockdown hit. With everything closed Kane became socially isolated, anxious, and forced to stay home the place he least wanted to be. He drank more and struggled with his mental health. He did not return to college, however as restrictions eased Kane returned to MYZ, with poor mental health. Through re-establishing relationships with the staff, he is accessing 121 support for his needs and for the first time Kane has felt confident with sharing how he is feeling about his life and is open and responsive to the support MYZ can offer him. He has in recent months developed a greater understanding of communication and boundaries; he loves the young leader role he has taken on supporting Junior sessions. But most importantly MYZ is now supporting Kane into independent living into a self-contained flat and helping him develop the life skills needed to manage a home, his own safe space alongside accessing speech and language therapy. He knows people at MYZ want to understand him and care about what happens to him. 

But Kane is not one to leave it all to others, during his social trips into Manchester he visited the Northern Soul Grilled Cheese Bar in the Northern Quarter, with his college friends. Kane returned and through his personality and tenacity built a rapport with the owner and asked if he could help in the bar. The owner offered him work experience and Kane now volunteers there regularly.