Success stories

Read the stories of people who have benefitted from attending our services or volunteering at the Abbey Centre. Some people come to us to help rebuild their confidence after facing serious challenges in their lives, and therefore names have been removed to protect their identity.

Community Pantry client

This person told us that the Abbey Centre has been very important to them during a recent negative downturn in their life, since losing their job and purpose led to a spell of anxiety and depression. They have been coming to our Community Pantry for some time and getting to know staff and other clients. The Pantry has now become an essential for them as a family to keep their shopping bills down, and they use produce from it daily.

Chatting to the Pantry team led them to our Information, Advice and Support service provided by Assia. They were able to speak in confidence and tell her some of their issues. As a result, they have been able to confront a lifelong issue which still impacts them, but is finally being dealt with. This person says they wouldn’t have managed this without Assia’s help in particular, which they are very grateful for.

There were offered assistance with potential volunteering and employment, and recently used the legal advice service, which they said was also “first class” and helped them deal with an issue that they would have had problems sorting if not for our Centre.

They told us, “The Abbey Centre is a local hub which deals with a cross section of end users who have come to depend on it. Local residents especially, I suspect, and the locality would really feel it if it was unable to provide its various and much needed services.”

Community Champion

This service user arrived and joined our Community Champions team. At the time, he was starting on the road to recovery from substance and alcohol misuse. When he arrived he was very shy and locked into the process of starting the long road of recovery, and had very little self-confidence or self-worth.

We engaged with a number of one to one sessions to build up confidence. This was a slow process. However, once we overcame that hurdle, we then started to train him up with health and wellbeing training, supporting a number of local health and wellbeing community drives.

The service user also attended a number of training sessions with the end goal of gaining full time employment in his preferred field of supporting young people with sexual health issues in the LGBT community. He has also secured a placement with the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), participating in CV writing courses, also interview skills training and starting a six month placement in a centre to support young people with sexual health.

Over the time with the Abbey Centre, he has gone from strength to strength. He is now a peer mentor for other people joining the volunteer programme who are on the journey of recovery.

Cafe volunteer

This person was a referral from the Cardinal Hume Centre (CHC) who has had a number of mental health issues over the years. This left her very reserved about being part of the community.

She started volunteering one afternoon each week in our café. Over this time, our head chef and the team have worked very closely with her, teaching basic kitchen and customer service skills while interacting directly with the service users of the café.

To date, she has completed over 90 hours of volunteering. This has supported her in integrating back in to her community. Her key worker at CHC has told us that she is now more involved with activities and her self-esteem has increased tenfold.

She is more able to engage with other service users at the CHC and is also able to take the lead in some activities. The key worker is so impressed with the change in our volunteer. We have increased her volunteering hours to two shifts per week and she is able to keep up with the work load.

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