Carrie moved into the area about two years ago with her parents to be near her sister’s family. To begin with Carrie was socially extremely isolated. She has a learning disability but did not receive any services or support. She had no network of friends and was lacking in confidence. It was through meeting a member of Gateway into the Community staff that Carrie was introduced to our social groups.
The groups helped her to develop her confidence and she was able to meet many new people, some of whom have become friends. At the time, Carrie was not doing any volunteering or work anywhere as she did not have the confidence or skills to access opportunities. It was through developing her confidence and building friendships at the social groups that Carrie was able to progress onto an ASDAN Employability course. Carrie flourished in all aspects of her life and also progressed onto our creative arts course, where she discovered she had a real gift, as well as taking part in our healthy living for women group.
As a result of the course, we supported Carrie into volunteering at Northumberland Greyhound Rescue Centre. This is something Carrie loves, as when she was younger she had helped at her auntie’s kennels before she moved away. Carrie has a great interest in animals particularly dogs; we took Carrie for several visits while she got to know the other volunteers and became comfortable with the tasks. Carrie flourished there and now goes every week. The centre is in a very rural area. We supported her till she felt confident to be able to go with another volunteer who was being supported by another local organisation Natural Ability.
This opportunity would not have been possible for Carrie if she had not attended the employability course. She is now volunteering weekly in an environment she loves. She attends the women’s healthy living group to play sports as well as the social groups but best of all she has taken up some paid work, 10hrs a week, cleaning at a local department store. Carrie now has friends and is continuing to build friendships and try new activities and opportunities.
When Carrie was at school she felt she could not achieve, so she was extremely proud when told she had completed her portfolio of work for her ASDAN Employability qualification. She said, “When I was at school, I felt no good at anything and didn’t get any help with reading and writing. Now I know I can do it, it’s great. I also learned to bake on the course, which is something I didn’t know I could do.”