“I am making friends"


Gillian's story

"I had been my husband’s carer for more than 25 years. He had become ill when he was just 34 and I looked after him from them until he passed away two years ago.

I wasn’t in a fit state to work. I went to the Job Centre and they recommended I get involved with Step Forward because I had been a carer for so long. I had been a machinist previously when I was 22 but now I’m nearly 60 and I had no confidence whatsoever.

Step Forward has been very good - they’ve helped me get my life back on track and I am a lot better than I was. I know my navigator is always there for me. If I need her, I can ring.

I found my appointments hard in terms of becoming emotional and upset but Step Forward referred me to specialist mental health support services and this has helped. They have also helped me with my financial situation by supporting me to apply for benefits.

Step Forward has helped me with courses and I’ve done the PCP Healthy Me course and have also done digital awareness training. My navigator has helped me develop a CV too. I have dyslexia and they have supported me with that too. Some of it was a bit overwhelming and I have a mentor for reading and writing. It turns out, I’m not as thick as I thought I was! My mentor has been a big help.

I’ve been going to the Step Forward ladies’ coffee mornings and have been doing Tarot cards and readings. That’s when I’m best. I’m quite confident when I know what I’m doing. There’s always someone who understands what you’re going through. Each of the ladies has their own problems and it makes you understand what other people are going through."