Anastasia's Story | Norwich City Community Sports Foundation

Story added: 14th February 2024

Anastasia's Story

12-year-old Anastasia was initially referred to our Realising Potential programme by Norfolk County Council in 2022, after spending an extended period of time out of the education system.

Anastasia, who is on the autistic spectrum, originally joined Realising Potential with one of her friends, in order for them both to gain additional support with their education, and to develop vital life skills.

However, when her friend made the decision not to return to the programme, Anastasia was initially left feeling isolated and anxious, as this was the first time she had attended anything without knowing anybody. The Realising Potential staff found it hard to get Anastasia to ‘come out of her shell’ and conversation – indeed any sort of interaction – was limited.

Thankfully, with help from staff and other participants, it wasn’t long before Anastasia was back involved with the sessions, demonstrating confidence and self-belief. She quickly made new friends and is now happy to take part in any activity task, always completing them to the best of her abilities. Danny, Anastasia’s father, was quick to compliment the positive impact that the programme had had on his daughter.

“There has been a huge-marked change in Anastasia, she has really come out of her shell and thoroughly enjoys going, meeting her friends and being able to be herself without worrying about being judged by anyone there”.

The Realising Potential team were that impressed with Anastasia’s progress that she was selected to represent the Community Sports Foundation at a Christmas tree decoration event at St. Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich. Realising Potential Officer, Ellie Dickinson, was full of praise for Anastasia’s fantastic progress:

“Anastasia has made huge strides in recent weeks. She’s gone from relying on her previously known friends attending sessions, to confidently participating on her own, making new friends as she does so. It’s been incredible to watch her blossom and grow and be more open minded about giving new things a go.”

The Realising Potential programme has been pivotal to Anastasia’s development and education and has been her only consistent activity during her year or so out of school. Alongside helping to improve her own personal development, the programme allows Anastasia’s parents much-needed respite, as they spend time trying to get their daughter a place at a Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) school.

In the near future, the Realising Potential team are going to keep providing Anastasia with additional support and continue to watch her grow and prosper, whilst working closely with her family as they move closer to Anastasia’s transition back into full-time education.

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