Connect Gives Eileen New Lease Of Life

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When I moved back to Swansea and most of my friends had moved on, I started feeling lonely and unhappy.  I didn’t leave the house for months. And the more I stayed put, the more afraid I became… 

I heard about Connect from a neighbour. He told me I should try to come along, so I asked my GP to refer me. 

The first few times I went, I sat alone and didn’t move or talk all day. People sensed I didn’t want to be bothered and let me be. After a few visits, I started feeling more comfortable. and people started asking me to come and join in. 

As I made friends and my confidence grew, I decided to try the art and pottery classes and oved them! I hadn’t done anything like that since school and it felt amazing when my stuff was exhibited at Swansea Museum. 

I’ve been coming to Connect almost every day now for the past six years and managed to get lots of new qualifications in maths and food hygiene etc. 

The difference here is that the teachers are patient and treat you like an equal. I don’t feel afraid asking questions like I used to at school.  

I used to do Connect’s ‘shop and drop’ scheme where we went to the shops in a group so we didn’t have to go alone.  We’d have a coffee and a chat while we were out and it was really nice.  Even something as simple as shopping can be really difficult when you’re not confident enough to go out alone. 

I’ve really enjoyed giving back to Connect too.  I see people here who are like I was when I started.  I love getting them involved. I did a mentoring course so we could support one another.  And we started a helper’s group so we can help each other and the project. 

I went on holiday last year for the first time in years.  I didn’t think I would go on another holiday in my life before.  Now my friend and I are saving up so we can go abroad for my 60th birthday! 

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I love it here. I feel safe - to me this is my home. The staff are lovely, every single one of them.  They all care, I mean really care. 

Connect has given me my confidence back.  I still get my low days, but I now feel like nothing’s impossible.  If it wasn’t for Connect I wouldn’t be here now, it’s been a lifesaver.  It’s been like a stepping-stone to getting my life back.  It gives me a reason to get up and get out. 

If you would like to help our work with people like Eileen, please donate some money or just a little bit of your valuable time. You can really make a difference!