“I am gaining knowledge and skills"
"I wasn’t working and used to spend a lot of time with my daughter and grand-daughter. I was very low in myself due to my past experiences and was feeling quite lost. I had anxiety and depression.
My work coach referred me to Step Forward Tees Valley and even though I was very apprehensive, I plucked up the courage to go to my first appointment to see Vicky, my navigator.
I told Vicky about my life and how I needed support. We came up with a plan to help me move forward. I was referred to Mind and I was helped to learn coping strategies to help me deal with my depression and anxiety. At first I found it difficult to open up but I began to find the sessions really helpful and I started to feel better within myself. I began to feel more confident and less isolated.
Then I went onto the health and wellbeing course and the employability training course. I really enjoyed learning new skills and making friends with the other people on the programme.
I also started to attend the Knit and Natter Group once a week and learned new craft skills. This was good for learning new skills while socialising and I also attended the craftastic group once a week. As part of the programme I did courses including occupational studies, retail, food hygiene, health and safety, first aid and business studies.
I wanted to get more involved and to help others, so I took part in the Community Heroes events organised by Changing Lives and took part in different events in the community, including litter picking at Redcar to improve the look of the beach.
I also made homemade bread and cakes, which I learned to do at the Live Well Centre as part of the programme, and donated them to the Moses Project for people who are homeless and I cooked for people during Refugee Week. I also liked maintaining the garden and decorating the fences at Norton Cricket Ground.
I’ve surprised myself at how well I’ve done in the courses. I want to continue to gain more knowledge and achieve higher level experience.
All of the activity has made me feel much happier. Step Forward Tees Valley has helped me make a lot of new friends and I wouldn’t swap my navigator Vicky for the world! She’s helped and fully supported me on my journey which I am very grateful for.
I have learned many new things and enjoyed the learning process which I never thought I would. This has helped improve my confidence and anxiety levels – I’m doing a lot better. I still have some down days but I’m enjoying being part of the programme, spending time with my new friends and looking forward to taking part in more courses."