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From “Can I?” to “I Can!”

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Donna knows only too well some of the challenges faced by our customers.

She herself has had to choose between buying food, nappies or paying bills. Her personal journey has given her the skills to empathise with the difficulties many people face in life.

Donna is a support worker helping customers get their lives back on track. Working with people who have a wide variety of needs, she can relate to the trials and tribulations they may be going through as she has experienced similar challenges.

Being a single parent to four children and on income support meant that Donna was forced to make decisions no person should have to. She knew that she had to improve the lives of her children as well as her own, but was also aware that she didn’t have the necessary skills to apply for a job that she both enjoyed and would excel in.

Always solution focused, Donna decided to attend an adult learning class on ‘living positively’, although positive was the last thing she felt. She spent the majority of the first session crying because of her extremely low self-esteem at that time. Despite the shaky start Donna persevered, gathering skills and slowly building her confidence. The book, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers, was suggested to Donna during the classes and gave her a new approach to life which she still applies today: the ‘C.A.N.I’ approach (Constant And Never-ending Improvement). 

Volunteering was a key step she took with many ‘baby steps’ towards a new kind of life for Donna and her family. She spent time volunteering at a special needs school and providing phone line parenting advice.  Donna’s confidence rose steadily enabling her to be in the position to apply for a paid job as part of the Bromford Support team. She says: “I think it looked quite favourable on my CV that I’d done volunteer work and they gave me the chance I needed and I started there.”

Since joining Bromford, Donna’s career is going from strength to strength; her self-motivation and positive attitude can help incentivise others to be the best they can be - and that includes her children. Donna’s daughter has been so inspired by her that she is planning to go to university, the first one in the family to do so.

Donna concludes: “It doesn’t matter what deck of cards you’ve been dealt, it’s how you play your hand. You fold or find strategies to cope. If there was one thing I’d advise anyone struggling, it would be how much can be gained by pushing yourself forward. Often in difficult times it’s all about loss but I’ve learnt how important it is to feel good internally. Standing tall is so important. I’m as independent today as I can be.”