These are the stories of people who have benefitted from attending 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.
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.
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.
Homeless Welfare Service Volunteer
This person came to us via the Head Start programme. When we first met him, he was very shy and distant from the rest of the group.
Over a number of team-building exercises, he became more relaxed around others. During the time that the training ran, he finally came out of his shell. He decided to support our Homeless Welfare Service, serving hot meals to homeless people. We were unsure about this in the beginning as we knew how shy he was, but as it proved we had nothing to worry about, as we feel that he has found his calling.
This volunteer has a wonderful manner when around our service users. They seem to be very relaxed in his presence. He has amazed us over the time he has been with us, which is coming up to 19 months. He has showed a level of maturity that is well beyond his age.
He has now completed his required hours not only for his Head Start, Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold awards, yet he still keeps going. He is a true star and is a credit to his family and school.