A young woman from Winsford has spoken about how volunteering has helped her battle against crippling anxiety.
Charlotte Louise, 20, has recently joined the New Leaf programme, which aims to boost people’s confidence and unlock potential by providing training, skills and opportunities.
Charlotte has been with the programme since November, undertaking various training courses and volunteering at the Winsford Work Zone.
“I have struggled with anxiety for the past year. The attacks can be overpowering sometimes but I have been looking at different techniques to help me control them,” Charlotte said.
“I have good and bad days but coming here has done me the world of good. Lyn Hamlett (New Leaf Mentor) has been a massive help and has really brought me along during my time here.
“It has been good to get some training under my belt. I’ve done different courses in IT, cookery and budgeting and I am just about the finish my volunteering qualification. I feel like I have grown so much since coming here – I have finally found my voice.”
Charlotte first heard about New Leaf after meeting Lyn at the Wellbeing Wednesday sessions which are held at the Work Zone. Charlotte was encouraged by her friends to give the programme a go, which aims to get 2,800 people across Cheshire closer or into employment by 2019.
Lyn has been working closely with Charlotte and has been bowled over by how far she has come.
“Joining New Leaf has been absolutely brilliant for Charlotte,” Lyn said.
“She first got involved at a Christmas event at Wharton Library. She was very shy at first and you could tell that her anxiety was getting the better of her.
“Charlotte is hard working and her confidence has really grown since being involved with New Leaf. I know everyone at the Workzone has been very impressed with her since she started volunteering.
“The aim now is to find some more work placements for Charlotte and get her ready for work. She would be a real asset for any employer.”
Charlotte is currently volunteering at the Workzone, helping staff with admin work and other tasks.
And Charlotte is hopeful that this will lead to her finding employment doing similar work.
Charlotte added: “The aim is to get a job in admin. I’m hoping the experience and skills that I am learning through New Leaf will lead to better things for me.
“I am in a much better place than I was a year ago. I feel I am slowly coming out of my shell and I am now ready to do so much more. This is one of the best things that I could have done.”
If you are a Weaver Vale customer and would like help getting into training, education or employment, get in touch with Work Team on 01606 813 546 or email Workteam@wvht.co.uk
About New Leaf
New Leaf brings together a diverse range of 30 partners from across Warrington and Cheshire, including local authorities, learning providers, charities, social landlords, disability support networks to change lives, create opportunities and make a positive contribution to the local communities and the regional economy.
The project spearheaded by Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) has received £10.6 million of funding from the Building Better Opportunities programme, a key part of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) European Funding Programme.
To find out more about the New Lead programme, visit http://newleafcheshire.co.uk/