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Hayley's Story

Posted on 31 January 2019

“What was a bleak outlook at the time, now looks better than it did. Hopeful Families was exactly what I needed.”

When Hayley met her Hopeful Families family mentor, her son had experienced a series of life threatening operations over a period of two and a half years’ which Hayley had dealt with by herself.

Hayley was finding the stresses of coping with her son’s ill health and being a single mum particularly difficult. As no-one else in her family had experienced a similar situation, no-one understood the way Hayley felt, or how to share this journey or provide emotional support to her.

 “I was solely focussed on this and nothing else, with no time to think what had happened. Then it really hit me - I needed to take a step back.”

Thankfully this is when Hayley attended an event at her local Job Centre and spoke to a Community Engagement Worker from Groundwork North, East & West Yorkshire. This is where she was introduced to the Hopeful Families programme, which Hayley felt was just what she needed at the time.

“Due to the support from Hopeful Families I am not as stressed out, and am more able to deal with the situation. I was not sleeping before, but with a bit of help and information I have been able to sleep again and am calmer in myself, whereas before I was feeling anxious all the time. If it had not been for my family mentor I would have been in a worse place with my mental health and stress.”

There was recently an incident at school involving Hayley’s son. Before having the support provided by Hopeful Families, Hayley would likely have found the situation particularly stressful, but has emphasized the important role her family mentor played in diffusing the situation.

“My family mentor got me to ring the Safeguarding Team, who I did not know existed. I would not have phoned myself, but the family mentor as an outsider, with no emotional attachment, was able to see that what was wrong. Little things like that helped me massively.”

Hayley needed that extra bit of guidance of who to ring in certain scenarios, as well as a way to help get more enjoyment and stop her overthinking things. Her family mentor arranged some training from home (funded by the Big Lottery Fund), knowing Hayley was unable to commit to longer which meant that a few hours training every week from home was more achievable for her.

“My family mentor has helped with a lot of things and provided practical help and advice on how to go about certain things. The amount of phone calls the family mentor has made on my behalf to organisations that I would not have thought of has been immense. She rang the Benefits Office, arranged for help from an organisation to get the DLA form filled in… I wouldn’t have known where to start.”

Hayley said that she wanted to relay how important meeting the Community Engagement Worker at the Job Centre event was in the first place:

“I am grateful beyond words. I dread to think what my mental health would be like now if I had not got in touch through the event at the Job Centre that the Community Engagement Worker from Groundwork attended. It was the best thing that could have happened. Hopeful Families pointed me to a lot of help that I did not know of. It was the best thing since sliced bread!”

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