Three years ago I suffered bereavement and other life challenges that devastated my mental wellbeing. I became very disconnected from myself and the community.
I realised then that I needed help and, while searching for a new doctor, I noticed the word ‘Community’ in Greenway Community Practice – something familiar. I needed to connect. From then on I began to build a relationship with them, accessing treatment to get better. I was offered trauma counselling initially to help me cope with day-to-day life. I was then referred to the Social Prescribing service at the Southmead Development Trust and joined a gardening group to meet more women in similar circumstances. Through the service I was also able to go to some swimming sessions at Henleaze Lake and started to make friends.
As I got to grips with all the changes post lock down, I was able to talk things out with my Social Prescribing Link Worker and become familiar with the Trust’s Greenway Centre. A pre-employability course called Find Your Strengths came up and I applied to join. Making more connections with other people like me helped me grow in confidence, and I was almost ready to think about going back to work.
I tapped into all the courses I felt relevant to my recovery and found that the Trust offered much more than I had first realised.
I grew and developed as a person. I found a safe space where people were kind and compassionate and where I felt supported in my efforts to come to terms with the past.
After finishing the Find your Strengths Course I was assigned an Employment Mentor, Claire. During our discussions Claire noticed all the community work I had done over many years, along with teaching and youth work. I was hoping that I could offer these skills in a new working role.
We went through how to write a CV, fill in job applications and practiced interviews. I mentioned that I would love to work for an organisation like the Trust having received so much help and support there. Claire gave me the advice and encouragement to apply for work with the Trust when a new post became available.
I was thrilled when I was offered a new role with the Reception Team, and you will now see me during the evenings and at the weekend at the main desk, or facilitating birthday parties at the Ranch.
Thanks to the incredible people at Southmead Development Trust I feel more confident and positive about life than I have done in years.