Hazel has helped herself move on by helping others
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Hazel, a single parent of four children, was a virtual recluse unable to leave her house unaccompanied for two years after a breakdown and a failed relationship.
Today she has moved to a new area - Burntwood - and is active in her community, helping bring people together whilst supporting Preemies UK charity which provides clothes for premature babies.
“At the end of the day, others can only help so much and we have to help ourselves,” she says.
She modestly goes on: “Knit and Natter knitting group has helped me to get my life back. The first time I went to a group I thought I couldn’t face it but I had to go. I walked to that first meeting and when I got back, my daughter high-fived me and said: “You’ve done it!” I had unplugged my phone for over a year and been on my own for two years until then.”
Hazel could have continued to hide away but after that first meeting, she decided to set up evening meetings at her home with a few ladies. I thought: “I’ve started something!”
Not stopping there, she has now set up a weekly group at her local library but she stresses: “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Katie, one of Bromford’s skills coaches. She set up a meeting with the manager there and came along to support me.”
Eleanor, Katie’s manager said: “Hazel wasn’t ready for work-related activities, but was keen to explore further community work and this is where Katie was able to encourage her to consider setting up a Knit and Natter group at Burntwood library.
“Katie also worked with Hazel to design a poster to advertise the session and put collection boxes for recycled items that she can sell to raise money for the premature babies at the library and our Lichfield office. I know that this box is being used by colleagues and we are making sure the items are passed onto Hazel.”
Hazel continued: “I am now looking at doing a couple of table top sales at the library. If it takes off I want to do one every month after Christmas.
“Two of my children were premature so I can relate. I also have another son who’s autistic and I’m his carer. If I can help someone, I will. It’s nice to help a good cause and there’s never enough money. Sometimes I only make £15 or £20 but that will make four packs for babies. I don’t want to let the ladies down either and I’ve been there sometimes on my hands and knees when I’ve not been well.” (Hazel has Chron’s disease).
Eleanor sums up: “Hazel highlights that skills coaching is not just about getting our customers back into work. It is working with them to unlock their potential and listen to what they want to do. Due to Hazel’s health and carer commitments she may never be in paid employment, but what she gives back to the community is inspiring.”
Hazel also helps with her local playgroup. She says: “If you really want to do something you will find the time. I have got to know my local community from doing Knit and Natter and really pleased that I’ve inspired another lady to set a group up too.”