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Nicola’s story: In her own words

#BetterOpportunities #FeelingBetter Pluss Positive People Positive People - Devon Video 22 March 2023
Life Before Positive People

When I came to Pluss Positive People I was feeling suicidal. I was feeling worthless. I was at a point where it was do something about it or I wouldn’t be here anymore. I’d been in a 20-year marriage where I was mentally and physically tormented.

Coming to Torbay, for the first time in a long time, I was listened to. I didn’t know who I was, what my favourite colour was, I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like, but I knew I liked craft. I knew I liked to create, and I knew I  liked to show and share the things that I know.

Connecting with Positive People

I heard about Positive People through another organisation I was in contact with. They gave me a leaflet and I contacted them. It was Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), a Positive People partner.

They contacted me and we arranged to meet in a cafe. They brought out a list of the things that they did, and quite a bit of it was craft activities. I was like, craft, this is gonna be amazing. This is it. This is what I’ve been looking for.

Getting crafty

I started going to the craft groups, and I absolutely loved them. I made friends, which I hadn’t had since I left my old town.

Positive People have just changed my life.

I went to Co-Create in Exeter and I made a wallet out of leather. I now carry that wallet everywhere. It reminds me of how far I’ve come, and it was one of the first things I made. It’s thanks to Pluss (part of Seetec Group) that I was able to do that. I then did a woodwork workshop with Co-Create too. Oh my God, they let me loose with tools, that was so much fun! They gave me a toolbox and I made a bench block.

I’ve did a ‘Dress for  Confidence’ workshop, through TCDT. Now I know how to dress. For my shape,  I’m a petite apple, and I’m so proud to know that. I now walk down the street with my head held high and say hello to people, because I’ve met friends. Before I’d walk down the high street and my head would be down because I didn’t know anybody.

I didn’t trust anybody because of my past. Now it’s ‘Hi Nicola, how are you?’ and I reply, ‘I’m fine, I’m doing amazing’. It was a very lonely place before.

What next

I’m also now a trained peer. I actually run my own craft groups. Who knew, that I would end up being a teacher of craft. I absolutely can’t thank TCDT and Pluss enough for what they’ve done for me.

It doesn’t cost that much either. It’s just having those opportunities to say yes, yes I’ll do it. That’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to say yes, and take that chance, because you never know where you’ll be, because where I was, I was ready to leave the world, and I’d been missing out, and now, even though Positive People will end, I’ve gained so much more that will see me to the next adventure.


Final thoughts

Nicola is a beacon of what Positive People set out to achieve. Helping those furthest from the labour market, to provide sustained, bespoke support to help them move to a more positive place and ultimately closer to employment.

There are numerous examples (see links below) of how Positive People and Hopeful Families in West Yorkshire (a similar scheme with a different name), have helped people and in some cases transformed their lives. Nicola’s story is no different.

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