Standing by was never an option

By Amy Murphy – Emphasis Worker Upstream Cymru

I’m not sure I can find the right words to describe this year if I’m honest, but even through the challenges Covid-19 has put in front of us all, it’s been a great first year for me working for Llamau.


I feel very fortunate because I genuinely love what I do. I think it’s so important that young people and their families get the support they need, as early on as possible, which is why I think being part of the Upstream Cymru team suits me so well –  because it’s all about early intervention and stepping in long before a young person or family hits crisis point.

When news of the Coronavirus and how fast it was spreading hit us, I don’t think anyone could have anticipated what was to come and just how much we’d all have to adapt our lives.

We recognised early on that we had no choice but to put our original plans with Upstream on hold, but just standing by was never an option. We all knew how important it was to adapt our services to ensure young people and their families were still able to access support throughout this pandemic.

Families like Tammy’s…


“Mam and I were experiencing a lot of disagreements. We couldn’t have a conversation without it turning to an argument. Arguing with my mother was hard, so deep down it made me feel horrible in myself for being so mean to the one person who loves me most.

In the end I did leave home for a few weeks and stayed with family. During this time I did feel very alone. Moving away from a parent is really hard and I had to learn the hard way.

There wasn’t anything in particular causing our problems but I would get very frustrated and angry with my mam for no reason. Looking back it was really silly and if I could take all that back I definitely would. It wasn’t nice for me, my mam or other members of the house to experience. It scared my little brother who has autism and global delay.

At first we had no idea how to resolve our problems but then a health and well-being teacher in my school suggested Amy to us and passed on her number so we called her and she’s been such a big help ever since! So far, Amy has managed to sit us down and let us talk about what needs to be done and what needs to change.

I was set tasks where I had to write down three things that I thought would change my relationship with my mother and stepfather. Amy even has the time to see me during school whenever I need time out. I struggled a lot when it came to going to school last year so I missed a lot of time but Amy has also offered to help with work I’ve sadly missed out on and even to help me look into colleges and what I want to do when I leave school.

Recently Amy set up a video call between me and her work colleagues because I’m very interested in what she does and I am considering it for myself in the future, so to help me with my choice Amy had some of the people she works with come on the video call and explain a little bit about themselves and what they do. It was amazing.

Despite what mam and I went through everything is good now. I live back at home and I can’t remember the last time we had an argument. I’m a lot happier since and so is my mam. When things change a bit more with Covid, Amy is going help me to rebuild my confidence and help with my social anxiety.”


It was the opportunity to help families like Tammy’s and to transform their relationships and build more positive futures that made me want to work on the Upstream Cymru project. It’s not quite been the first year that we imagined, but we’ve already been able to support so many families through such a challenging time. I’m really excited to see what we can achieve once the project is in full flow.


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