This blog is for anyone who may be struggling. Struggling to believe in themselves. Or to believe that change is possible. I am living proof that it is.
I am a single parent with two beautiful children with real life experience of homelessness, substance misuse and the criminal justice system that can’t be read in a book.
I am now also a GROW Trainee for Inspiring Change Manchester.
I’m not going to lie and pretend it’s been easy. Cus it hasn’t. I’ve worked hard to get where I am today. Overcoming a lot of obstacles that in the past have held me back.
I used to believe I was worthless. A bad mum. Couldn’t understand why I was doing what I was doing. Couldn’t stop doing what I was doing. Didn’t know how to. Addiction had left me with nothing; it had stripped me of everything. I’d lost the ability to communicate with people. I had no social skills, and very low self-esteem. Until one day, I decided I’d had enough. The drugs stopped working. That’s when I decided to ask for help.
I started my journey in recovery in 2008. I haven’t looked back since.
I went back to college, rebuilt relationships with my children and family, and started to volunteer – to give back and help people with similar issues to me.
My passion for helping others and giving back led me to Inspiring Change Manchester.
It was only after joining the Core Group, and working alongside ICM staff members, that I started to feel part of a team. An equal. This is what we call co-production – people like myself, with lived experience, working alongside professionals to change people’s lives. Being a part of the core group gave me the passion, drive and determination to be a voice for service users and to believe that our opinions matter, “No decision should be made about us; without us”.
Working in this way helped me believe in myself and my abilities. I’d never imagined I’d ever have the confidence to be sat in front of Campbell Rob (Shelter CEO) discussing the importance of service user voices being represented at the highest level of decision making in Shelter.
And I never imagined I would be a paid employee of the largest homelessness and housing charity in the UK. But I am. And this proves that anything is possible.
So to anyone who may be struggling. Struggling to believe in themselves. Or to believe that change is possible. I am living proof that it is. And you could be too.