Gordon was just 18 when he left home suddenly, losing contact with his younger sister. With NYAS’ help, Gordon was able to reach his sister. Now 22, Gordon is taking on a skydive for NYAS to help other young people like him get the support they need. Here, he talks about his experiences.

I was 18 years old when I left home due to a family crisis and moved to Scotland for a better life. Yet when I asked my wider family for contact with my sister, it was refused.

It was Morecrofts Solicitors who referred me to NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) following a family law query to their firm. They decided that I required specialist representation which only NYAS could provide due to their invaluable experience in representing children and young people.

Richard at NYAS became my solicitor, and he was very supportive and cared about the outcomes of my case. NYAS applied for exceptional case funding legal aid, which was a first for them according to Richard, and not successful before. This allowed for a solicitor to represent me at court for what turned out to be a successful child arrangements order.

It was upsetting to be refused contact with my sister, but I was pleased that Richard acted in both of our best interests by applying for the order. I needed legal representation too as I was in a very fragile state of mind after suffering from a mental health condition, which was affecting my life and meant I was unable at that point to legally represent myself.

The success of the child arrangements order in the Family Court allowed me to see my sister, despite her parents refusing to consent to this. However, the order was breached, resulting in an enforcement order. This was successful and meant a social worker was allocated to establish contact with my sister

A week before Christmas 2018, I saw her for the first time in three years. It was a very sentimental moment, and was so enjoyable and positive for us both. Her family and I managed to agree to regular contact following facilitation from my NYAS solicitor and her social worker.

My sister and I are still having regular contact and she now knows who I am. She’s able to interact with me very well despite her young age. It has made me feel ecstatic that I can make a positive difference to my sister’s life.

NYAS has changed our lives for the better and I couldn't be more grateful. They made a very successful application for legal aid which other solicitors probably wouldn't have considered, and through this NYAS secured my human rights and represented me effectively, changing two lives in the process. I wanted to share my story as my case was an exceptional one, with NYAS going out of their way to make a life-changing difference.

To say thank you, I have arranged a skydive in 2022 and have fundraised £200 for NYAS for the amazing work they do in representing vulnerable children and young people. I’ll be jumping out of that plane in November after the skydive was cancelled in May due to bad weather.