A picture of a Youth Panel member in a park

Shawn Clark, Youth Panel

Shawn has struggled with his mental health for many years. But an email from Sovereign asking him to join our youth panel gave him the prompt he needed to get out there and make a difference.

“I left home when I was quite young and moved into supported housing. I have Autism and ADHD and when my mental health takes a turn for the worse, I know that living with me can be quite difficult, as I can panic and get quite anxious.

“That’s why having my own place, thanks to Sovereign, has really worked for me. It’s given my family and I the space we need to reconnect with each other, my brother and my mum are just down the road.

“Living alone has given me the independence I was looking for. However, although I work part-time in a local petrol station, at times I do get lonely and bored.

“When I saw the invitation for the group I recognised that it was a way that I could get out there and meet new people and improve my CV at the same time. Everyone in the group is lovely and very understanding of my needs – adapting how they explain things so that I can keep up.

“I’ve already formed friendships away from the official Youth Panel meetings and we’ve met up to chat about what we want to achieve in Abingdon for our community, and how we might go about organising an event or access the new funding that Sovereign has released for outdoor projects.

“It feels really good to be involved in social action and I’m looking forward to meeting Jenny, the community development officer, to see how we can make our ideas a reality.”