“I am more determined" #iamstepforward 

Sammy Jo's story

"I started with Step Forward Tees Valley in September 2018 after my work coach at the Job Centre told me about it.

I came in for an initial appointment with navigator Emma where we discussed my barriers and the best way to move forward. I felt isolated, I had a lack of confidence and struggled in bigger groups. As I have a disability I sometimes feel like this stops me from achieving goals, however Step Forward Tees Valley has provided me with support, direction and confidence which is helping me.

I started with a self-assessment which looked at my mental ill health and identified the areas I need support in. From this, I have started attending Community Hero events which I have really been enjoying. We decorated the Burbank Community Centre for Halloween and the Christmas fair to support and give back to the community.

I found these events useful to meet other people. They helped me feel less isolated when being involved in a group and I found it rewarding giving back to the community.

The staff who run the events have even asked me to be a peer mentor which will involve giving support to other people with similar barriers and helping to set up and lead different groups.

I am now continuing to attend and support the groups Step Forward runs and I will be helping to run the new women’s group in Hartlepool which I am looking forward to.

Overall, I will be continuing work with Step Forward to find employment and training and to work on my barriers. I am grateful for the support they have provided me and I am looking forward to the future."