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Christal’s story: “You will never know how much difference you’ve made to my life”

Pluss Positive People Positive People - West Yorkshire 15 September 2021

The Hopeful Families programme helps people who for whatever reason, find themselves facing barriers that are holding them back from ‘getting on with life’.

These real stories are produced to highlight how Hopeful Families help people to deal with the things that are stopping them from making progress in life, in the hope that you or someone you know will be inspired to contact us.

Background

Christal is in her 40s from the Featherstone area, near Wakefield. She joined the Hopeful Families programme feeling totally lost. She was suffering with depression, low self-esteem and her life had no direction.

Christal left school with no qualifications and having raised five children, she had limited work experience. On top of that, she was having some difficulties with her 11-year-old daughter and her behaviour.

We asked Christal how she was feeling before joining the Hopeful Families programme: “I was suffering with depression but didn’t want to do anything about it. I was sinking further and further and didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t leaving the house; I wasn’t event getting dressed. I felt I’d lost myself and I had no idea where to start. After my relationship ended, it was just me and my youngest daughter.”

I didn’t want to address my depression

Support from Hopeful Families

After hearing about Hopeful Families through STEP-UP, Wakefield Council’s employment and skills service, Christal joined the programme in May 2020.

“I didn’t want to address my depression and the cause of it, but over time, Debbie, my family mentor, got me to try counselling. She referred me to Turning Point. I was so nervous about this, but with Debbie’s support and encouragement I went to the counselling, and this was the start of my life turning around.

Turning Point is a service commissioned through the NHS to deliver talking therapies to support behaviour change and improve coping skills.

“It wasn’t easy at first, but over time, I began to feel better. For the first time, I was addressing the cause of my depression, which came from my childhood and relationships that involved domestic abuse, which until now I’d always tried to push away.

“Debbie persevered through her regular phone calls, to get me to leave the house and start to take pride in myself. This slowly built my confidence.”

To support Christal through the isolation, particularly through the lockdowns, she was provided with a laptop. This enabled Christal to look at training opportunities and job searching.

“This made such a difference – not just for the training and job searching but also to have contact with the outside world, for this I’m so grateful.”

Christal also received support from Hopeful Families to tackle the issues she was experiencing with her daughter.

“Debbie went above and beyond, allowing me to talk about the challenges with my daughter. She helped by putting her behaviour into context which gradually helped me to realise that my daughter is just a normal young lady, growing up.”

One of the challenges Christal faced in searching for jobs, was her lack of any formal qualifications.

“After I completed the counselling I decided to gain some qualifications. Debbie helped me to identify that my strengths would suit working in the retail sector, so I started a level 2 retail course and I’m just about to start my maths and English.”

You have given me my life back

Has Hopeful Families made a difference?

Family mentor, Debbie said: “Christal has made such progress. She’s completely different from when she started, she now shines and has newfound confidence and this really comes across. She’s full of life again.”

When Christal was asked this question, this is what she said: “You will never know how much difference you’ve made to my life. You have given me my life back. I’m so much more confident, I can hold my own and I’m no longer a ‘shrinking violet’. I feel in control and for the first time, I’m looking forward to the future.

“Debbie has been brilliant. She’s so patient with me, so supportive and she always did what she said she was going to do. Having that support is what got me through.”

Looking ahead

Christal is now looking forward to a much more positive future. She is keen to complete her training courses, then will move on to finding and securing suitable employment. For the first time in her life, Christal is looking forward to the future, something that at one point, she thought she would never achieve.

Everyone at Hopeful Families wishes Christal and her daughter the very best in her new and exciting chapter. If you live in the Calderdale, Kirklees or Wakefield areas and you are interested in finding out how the Hopeful Families programme can help you, call us on 07341 004 949 for a friendly, confidential chat, or email hopefulfamilies@pluss.org.uk.