“One of my long term goals is to study education, at degree level – I have always wanted to work in education. Family demands took a toll on my time and strength, although I enjoyed caring for family, I almost lost that goal. It has taken me a little while to find myself again. On the journey of caring for family I managed to carve out time for myself. I was a school governor fufor 5 years and achieved a level 3 in governance.

I knew that Community Links had educational programmes and I was walking past and saw a sign for the ‘Create Your Future’ training course at Community Links and found out about it. During that training course I felt that I was being heard; that my ambitions were being heard.

I developed anxiety due to mobility issues and the pain would discourage me and make me feel isolated. I often had to cancel appointments because I was a bit anxious to come out and be amongst strangers who didn’t know my needs. While I was on the Create Your Future training course it was encouraging engaging with people I had not met before and attending group trips which helped build my confidence and self-esteem, helped further by encouragement from my tutor. After the first day I felt really comfortable. We covered a subject called Macrame and although craft is not one of my strong points, I wasn’t made to feel a failure at all. My competitive side came out and one day it was just like having an epiphany, I did it!

I actually feel as though I have some sort of footing which can spring board me to the future. I have just turned 51 and my short term goal is to try and market some of the creative and inventive ideas for products I get.  This integrates into my long term goals of education. I want to eventually look at writing education programmes for people with special needs. I have a passion for that area. I believe that education helps bridge the gap from poverty.

I am starting the next Create Your Future training programme soon and the main difference already is in my confidence, direction and support; I feel as though I’ve got a cushion behind me. I am really looking forward to doing a course to come up to date with IT at Learn Direct, which Community Links signposted me to. That’s something I know I’m on my way to achieving, I consider Community Links as like part of a great big supportive family.”