Sue believed in me and that gave me the confidence I needed – I realised that I was capable of making positive changes in my life

Cathy has been a carer for various members of her family for many years and recognises that this can take its toll on her mental health. This is why, in the past, she has done some volunteering, including for a credit union. She knows that volunteering is good for her wellbeing; it gives her a routine and helps her get out of the house and meet people.

Following the death of both parents Cathy had been living in Yarmouth with her sister, who has a learning disability and needs a bit of support with some day-to-day activities, such as shopping. However Cathy’s sister had many more friends in the Norwich area and she arranged to move to Norwich to be nearer to them. This was a positive move for Cathy’s sister, but when the practical support she had been receiving was discontinued she began to find some things more difficult. Cathy decided that she would like to move to Norwich so she could be nearby and help.

The move to Norwich felt costly and complicated and a little overwhelming, so Cathy sought support from Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind. This led her to the local wellbeing service where she met Training Connector Tim. Walking through town one day Cathy bumped into an old volunteering colleague who told her the credit union was opening a branch in Yarmouth. Knowing that volunteering has a positive impact on her wellbeing Cathy offered to volunteer and through this met Neighbourhood Manager Daniel and began to think more seriously about taking on a volunteering role. At around this time, Cathy talked with Tim about the challenges of the move to Norwich and her anxieties about managing the move whilst safeguarding her mental health, so Tim introduced Cathy to Life Connector Sue.

Sue and Cathy worked together to manage the practical and financial challenges associated with the house move. And with Sue’s support Cathy was able to obtain effective medication and begin to take control of her depression and anxiety. Volunteer Coordinator Jo learned about Cathy’s interest in volunteering and found a role for Cathy at DIAL and Tim helped Cathy to work on her CV. Cathy began to feel more in control of her life and gained confidence to plan her future.

Cathy began to feel that she could tackle the house move and she managed to find a flat in the same housing complex as her sister. She now lives in Norwich and has successfully applied to be a volunteer with Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). Not only will this help Cathy safeguard her wellbeing, but she hopes it will be a stepping stone towards paid employment.

Behind the scenes; Sue’s point of view

  • I went to medical appointments with Cathy and helped her get onto the correct medication to treat her depression, anxiety and insomnia
  • I helped Cathy win an appeal with the Great Yarmouth Council Housing rents office, who had initially said she wasn’t eligible for a bridging rental arrangement during her house move
  • Multi-Disciplinary Worker James was able to help Cathy get some financial support from the Lucy Rope Trust and this paid for the van and other removal costs. The Trust also paid for a new fridge freezer for Cathy.
  • I was able to put Cathy in touch with the lady who does the recruiting at Norwich CAB and gave her the heads up about Cathy’s application. I was delighted that her interview went so well and she was offered the position of administrator
  • Cathy is now in receipt of ESA and PIP benefits and with the house move her life has really started to turn around now. Being nearer to her sister has given Cathy a lot of comfort
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