PS left school at 15 years old in 1975 with no qualifications. Whilst at school she’d had a Saturday job with a well-known retail company, and they took her on full time when she left. She eventually married and became a mum and was then involved in running a pub with her husband but was very much in the background.
She felt she had lost her identity and confidence and when they stepped away from the business, she found that she didn’t really know who she was and what she wanted in life. By this point she found she was anxious around people she didn’t know, she had very low self-esteem and found it hard to have ordinary conversations with people. She felt isolated and unsure about her future.
Five years ago, she came to have a coffee in Mr Gatty’s at CSNW. She didn’t know about the organisation at all but saw a poster advertising a dementia awareness course on her way into the tearoom – she felt intrigued, wanted to learn more, and signed up.
She was anxious, but came, thoroughly enjoyed it, and wanted to pursue this more.
She realised about herself that she loved to learn and valued education – she signed up for level 2 in Dementia Care at Waterside. This began to open a pathway for her. She realised she loved to learn and wanted to help people. She started looking for opportunities and her confidence increased.
She maintained her contact with CSNW and began to volunteer as a 1:1 BF and supported in our Crisis Prevention drop-in. She loved coming alongside people and helping and this gave her great satisfaction. But she had got the bug about education.
She completed her Mentoring levels 2 and 3 and began to volunteer at Accrington academy using her mentoring skills. She then went on to complete her levels 4,5 and 6 in mental health.
PS says she began her journey not being able to have a conversation without anxiety to being presented recently with a suggestion that she could look at a career pathway in Public Speaking! She is now articulate and confident chatting to anyone, feels happy speaking in any social setting – and absolutely loves doing presentations and writing academically.
She is currently studying management and leadership, as well as criminology and youth studies and will soon complete her BA Hons in health and applied social studies.
She still loves education and is considering whether to go for her masters, but feels it is perhaps now time to use the education she has gained to come alongside others once more. She is considering a role that will enable her to do this.
PS says that she would advise anyone to ‘go for it’. She says she has really valued the support she’s had and there is a lot out there – it can truly change lives. She suggests finding a little something that interests you – start there – and then just watch it snowball.