Thank you for my life back
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Before taking on my current role in the communications team at Bromford I was a support worker in Staffordshire and have first-hand experience of the problems that people face throughout the county. Being a support worker was one of the hardest (and most rewarding) jobs that I’ve ever done – believe me, I’ve had a few jobs so I’ve got plenty to compare to.
Over the three and half years that I worked in this role I helped hundreds of people whose needs ranged from wanting a little help to complete forms or make telephone calls to those who were homeless, desperate and even suicidal.
Here is just one example of someone who I worked with that, without our help, I am convinced would not be here today.
Mary* was in her early 50’s when we met her. She cried for the whole of the first visit (and the second, and most of the third).Trembling, she spent the entire time staring at the floor. Her eyes were red raw through crying and her face was grey and drawn.
Abused as a child, feeling worthless, she had fallen in and out of violent relationships. In her teens, her then partner had introduced her to prescription drugs which she quickly became addicted to. She soon progressed to heroin accompanied by alcohol, and lots of it.
When we met she was still using heroin daily and drinking up to nine litres of white cider a day too. She was living in a house that was too big for her to manage and was being constantly harassed by a violent ex-partner.
She had spent years self harming and had deep cuts to the tops of her legs that needed medical attention. She had never discussed her mental health with anybody and only a week earlier had attempted to take her own life. She was sleeping on her settee as her bed was old and she didn’t have a mattress. She could hardly afford food, but never felt like eating anyway.
We helped her to access funding to buy a new bed and she is now in receipt of the correct benefits, help she never even knew existed before we began supporting.
We encouraged her to see her GP and went along to the appointments with her to give her the confidence to get the help that she needed for her mental health. After a few months of encouragement she began to engage with drug and alcohol services too.
Months later, she began to think about moving. After a lot of reassuring she finally got to the point where she felt ready to move from the home that she had lived in for the last twenty years.
Mary now lives in a lovely one-bed bungalow. We helped her to claim for a payment of £1,500 from the council for downsizing her property. She has used this money to make the bungalow her home - something she feels that she has never had before.
She has not used heroin for over a year and is now on a methadone prescription that she collects twice weekly. Her nine litres of cider have reduced to just a couple of cans of Carling a day.
Her mental health is now much better and she visits her GP regularly. She hasn’t self harmed or contemplated suicide since moving to her new home and she is no longer at risk from her ex.
After discussing her progress and agreeing that she could be signed off from our support Mary sent me a text message that read;
“…you have helped me soooo much, thank you. I can live independently thanks to you and Bromford.”
She sent a Christmas card that, in my opinion, sums up what we are all working for:
“To Steve and all co-workers at Bromford. You gave me the chance to live with dignity, hope and respect for the first time in my life. I could never express my gratitude to you all. Thank you for my life back.”
To read Bromford's response to Staffordshire County Council's announcement that they will be cutting £6m from their £11m supporting people budget, which provides vital help and support to the most vulnerable across the region click here.