“I feel like I’m part of the world again. Amy came into my life at exactly the right point. I had been withdrawn and was frightened of people. I had become anxious and experienced agoraphobia.
The home visit was really important. I would have had a lot of anxiety about going outside to meet anyone. Amy came to the house so, when I couldn’t get my words out, my mum was able to step in for me. By the next visit I was used to Amy. I felt okay with her and she has a way of making you feel at ease.
I really wanted to start volunteering and going out but I was very worried about it too. Amy understood that barriers such as going to the city centre just felt too hard for me to overcome. She offered to accompany me on a visit to a volunteer placement found online. Up until that point it had always been my mum who would go with me. Amy reassured me that if it wasn’t the right opportunity another could be found.”
That was then. Fast forward 6 months and Mandy now volunteers 3 times a week and “absolutely loves it”. She volunteers twice a week with a group of older residents who are at risk of social isolation. She’s taken the initiative to set up an activities group as well as the tea, toast and a blether session. Her Volunteer Co-ordinator says “she does a fantastic job and the residents so look forward to seeing her”. She also supports a Lead learner who experiences agoraphobia and needs to learn at home. The learner says, “she is brilliant and is building me up and up with my Maths and English.”. Mandy said the learner “was down on herself at the start and couldn’t see her ability. Everyone needs someone to say that you have improved.” Both have said Amy “couldn’t have paired them better” and they positively support each other to move forward.
“I love what I do now. I feel part of society and I don’t give myself such a hard time. My mum can definitely see the change in me. She told me ‘I’m back’. I feel I’m about 80-85% back to who I used to be and I was probably 30% about 8 months ago.”
What’s next? “I’d love to work full-time again. I’ve always had jobs in the past. I need to improve my computer skills, so that’s next. I feel more positive and confident. It’s been great for my self belief. ” Mandy was also one of the first people in Scotland to achieve the Adult Achievement Award at SCQF level 4 during this period. She would really like to support a learner to achieve this next.