Story 1

‘You helped a single soul to live and survive difficult times’

‘I am more than happy to share my experience/ Journey with Home-Start and my progress.

I might not be able to pen it down accurately or the way it really is, but every bit of my words are real and life changing.  I was referred to Home-Start by my community mental health care coordinator after my discharge from hospital and fleeing domestic violence.

I am struggling to find the right word to use to describe the state I was in at this point in time.

Emotionally I was shattered, my confidence, self-esteem and self-worth were all gone. Things I enjoyed doing before became a struggle, things like looking after my boys, getting out of the house and doing little house chores was so difficult for me at this time.

Financially, I had nothing but the little support I was getting from the social service. At this time, I had no recourse to public funds and as such I couldn’t access any form of social benefit. This on its own alone was worrisome and depressing.

In addition to the above mentioned challenges, was being a single parent to a toddler and a one-year-old child. The future for me at the point was so bleak.  I never saw any reason to look forward to the future.  Am so sorry for taking some much time to explain these.  I  am saying all these things because that was exactly how it was before Home-Start came into the scene. Although I had a good support network from my church but I was still struggling.

I remembered the first time Clare and my volunteer came to see us, the kind of joy they brought to my boys, by just chatting and playing with them. It made a great difference in their behavior and they always looked forward to the visits.

My Volunteer started taking us to play group which was one of the things I and the boys enjoyed doing before I took ill. I gradually started regaining my confidence back. The emotional support was superb.  Things like ‘well done’ ‘you are doing well with the boys and you are a good mum’ helped me so much, because I have been told before now, by husband that I wasn’t a good mum and I believed him.

Financially, I was also supported by Home start. My washing machine was brand new from Home-Start, slow cooker, toys and clothes for the boys to mention a few. With all these support my anxiety started reducing and my mood started stabilising and this was how my recovery started.

My voluntary work with Home-Start

Having regained a bit of my confidence I decided to volunteer for Home-start as a “Thank you” for all they did for me and also to support other mums who might be going through the same challenges I have gone through.

My experience as a volunteer was amazing.  Starting with the Home-Start team, they were very supportive all the way through.

The families I supported were also lovely and made progress. Am still in touch with them till date.

My progress

I have achieved my level 1&2 functional skills in literacy and numeracy, level 1 in ICT and level 1& 2 in health and social care.

I got my first paid job with The Pennine NHS Foundation Trust as a Bank Nursing Assistant under mental health.

I have also gotten a job offer with Greater Manchester mental health services as a health care Assistant at Salford royal hospital.  Due to resume soon.

Overall, I would like to say a massive thank you to Shelly, Tracy, Clare, Marina and all the team and wonderful past and present volunteers for the good job you are doing, please do keep it up and always remember that you helped a single soul to live and survive difficult times. May this be your strength and reason to carry on in times of challenges in the course of this job.  It is worth every pain.’ – Home-Start Manchester Family 

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