Chloe and Matt's Story

By Saints Foundation Media time Sat 18 Jun Saints Foundation News
Photo by Saints Foundation Media

It was with the support of Saints Works that Chloe found a new direction in life, refusing to her opportunities limited by autism and anxiety. Seeing his daughter flourish, Chloe’s dad Matt took on the challenge of a lifetime – going the extra mile (all 800 of them!) to give back to the charity that changed his child’s life.

On Chloe’s first day with Saints Works, she was filled with nerves. Growing up with autism and severe anxiety often limited her opportunities, but Saints Foundation’s life skills and employability project quickly opened up new paths to explore.

Just 12 weeks of workshops and 2 interviews later, she landed herself a job at a nursery, helping to look after young children as they learn and play. She found the job online and applied with the support of our Employability & Life Skills Coordinator Eloise Coster.

Chloe working with Eloise in a Saints Works session

“When we enrol onto Saints Works, we sit down to explore what you’re good at and what you want to get better at,” Eloise tells us. The Saints Works team create a skills map for each participant and then help them research which careers suit their strengths. “Chloe put a lot of hard work in. Without that research, it would have been much more challenging to do applications.”

Creating an environment where Chloe felt calm and confident was important to help her thrive. For the targeted cohort of Saints Works, numbers are capped at just seven per workshop, and there’s lots of breaks out in the fresh air.

The noise levels are particularly important for Chloe’s autism. “Not too much noise, not too quiet,” she tells us, “I can’t work in silence, which is why I always hated exams. Having some music in the background really helps me, but if it’s too loud, it’s a sensory overload.”

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Matt receives his medal from Foundation ambassador Franny Benali at the Big Bike Challenge finishing line

For Chloe’s dad and Saints superfan Matt, away days to far away football grounds are commonplace. He’s used to being in that number, making long weekend journeys to cheer on the team away from home. But what compelled him to visit 20 of these stadiums on just 2 wheels wasn’t simply out of his love for the Saints – he wanted to give back, in recognition of the Foundation’s life-changing impact on his daughter’s life.

816 miles, 9 days, and more blisters than you can count – this year’s epic fundraiser was our longest, toughest, biggest Bike Challenge ever. Matt attributes his 12 fellow riders for pushing him through. “We’ve supported each other, egged each other on, and just took each day as it came.”

Saving the best until last, St Mary’s Stadium provided quite the homecoming for the riders, with Chloe and her family in the crowd to cheer Matt in. His incredible fundraising efforts raised thousands for our work in the community, which we’ll use to help more people like Chloe fulfil their potential and find their pathway in life.

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