Rosie Smyth

Claire Hanna

Have you ever thought about what you’d really like to do with your time? If you’re not working or are on health related benefits, and don’t feel able to work because of health or wellbeing issues, the Wellbeing for Work service could be the answer.

At the Ashton Centre, the wellbeing team empowers participants to discover what they want to do in life and helps them develop the skills to cope with the challenges that life can throw their way.
Local woman, Helen Hill approached the service for help. She said: “I hadn’t worked for 19 years when I was hit with a thunderbolt out of the blue that my life needed to change. I had spent all my time raising my children and when they were all grown up and standing on their own two feet, I felt like I wasn’t needed any more. I had a moment of realisation, quickly followed by panic. I knew that there was more to me than a housewife and a mother, but didn’t know what that was anymore.

“I went to the GP to tell him I needed help, that I had forgotten who I was. He started prescribing me tablets and I just thought to myself that I didn’t want to take them – I had a sense that they wouldn’t help me find out what I needed to know. Instead of taking a tablet, I wanted to go down a different road. I thought to myself, I’d love to go back to what I was doing before, but the idea of that felt daunting. I had lived for many years in a bubble with only a couple of people in it. It was safe, and the thought of moving out of it was frightening.

“From the window of the Doctor’s surgery, you could see an office across the road and I asked him what it was. He told me he thought it was somewhere you go to help you get a job, and I said that’s what I’m going to do. So I walked out of his office with a promise that I’d come back in two weeks and take the tablets if I was still not feeling good. And I walked right in the door of the Ashton office on Duncairn Gardens to a friendly face who got me signed up for the Wellbeing for Work service. I haven’t looked back.

“Initially, I thought I had nothing to offer, but my coach Rosie helped me to believe in myself. We worked through activities that helped me to recognise myself, both my weaknesses and my strengths. I am not a particularly forthcoming person, but I found myself able to get things off my chest and I walked out of every session feeling ten times lighter than I’d gone in.

“I’m an over-thinker and often wonder what people are thinking of me, but it was easy to see that my coach was genuine, that she was like a friend.
“We worked to help me realise the qualities that I have – a tablet could never have told me that. The self-belief and confidence that I got from the Wellbeing for Work project has really brought me out of myself. I just took part in the Hospitality Employment Academy full time for two weeks, which really reinforced for me that I could do whatever I put my mind to.

“I found the strength in me – a lot of being successful in life is about self-belief. If you think it’s there, you’ll find the strength to make things happen. I believe in myself now.”

For futher information please contact Rosie Smyth or Claire Hanna, Ashton Centre Wellbeing coaches. Or ring (028) 90742255