Gill from Redcar and Cleveland is taking control of her life and determined to fulfil her potential with our suppport.


Now in her early 50s she suffered 25 years of domestic abuse both physical and mental, she gave up her career in catering when pregnant with her second child in 2000 due to pressure from her partner and has not worked since. Her mental health seriously deteriorated over time and in 2018 her confidence, self-esteem and mental health hit an all time low and she felt she could no longer face the pressures of life. Feeling isolated and unable to cope she contemplated taking her own life.


It was at this lowest point that a member of staff at Job Centre Plus suggested she talked to Step Forward Tees Valley.  From that point forward her life began to change for the better. With support from her navigator she started counselling sessions to address the issues that had been holding her back and she slowly began to attend social groups to meet new people and enjoy activities such as arts and crafts.

In February 2019, she attended the PCP Healthy Me, Confident Me course. She met new friends and found she wanted to take an interest in her health and wellbeing, especailly healthy eating and exercise. She joined a Step Forward Tees Valley Nordic walking group, even though it was completely out of her comfort zone and enjoyed it so much she began attending regularly.  Meeting new people, trying new activities and pushing herself to new challenges all increased her confidence and she wanted more. Healthy cooking courses and a food safety Level 2 qualification followed, equipping her with the skills and knowledge to support others in cooking sessions and help spread healthy eating messages. 

As her confidence increased and she could see a clearer path to achieving her goal of finding a job supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged adults and children. She completed an IT course and is attending sign language, paediatric first aid and teaching assistant Level 2 courses and plans to update her maths and English skills and qualifications. She also plans to volunteer with a local resource centre for adults with disabilities.

She said: "I trust Step Forward Tees Valley and feel safe working with them. They have helped me get my confidence back. I have been supported and encouraged to try activities that I never thought I would be able to do. I am motivated to achieve my goals of living a healthier lifestyle, taking control of life and getting back to work."