At the start of the COVID-19 crisis my daughter was stuck away from home and unable to return as the friend due to bring her back suddenly needed to self-isolate. She was so anxious and upset as she wanted to come home. I got a call, just checking in on me and told them the situation. They were able to provide the funds so that I could pay for the train fare for her return.
I am a nurse working within a care home and do not drive, so finding time and getting to the shops is always tricky. I was struggling to get baby milk for my 2-year-old and hadn’t been able to get out to even get Easter Eggs for my 4 children. Again, when they called to check in on me and I just mentioned this, Crea8ing Careers got it sorted and not only got me the baby food but also Easter Eggs so that the kids didn’t have to go without.
Unfortunately, I was unlucky and my microwave, tumble dryer and teenage daughter’s bed all broke at the same time. I was worried as to how I would cover the cost of replacing all these items as a single parent and finances are tricky. They have arranged for a bed through their community connections, bought me a microwave and helped me with sorting out a dryer.
I have been really worried working with COVID patients, some of our residents passing away and being high risk myself, that having them to talk to, getting information and reassurance has been a great support. Our weekly bingo nights with others that have done their courses, has been real fun and just helped to ease the sense of isolation when we are not able to get together with friends and just gives a brief sense of normality and relief from the anxiety in this crisis.
I had done a parenting course with them, as my son was having trouble in school and attends a special school locally. This gave me the skills to help support him through this difficult time. It was hard at first but then I got the hang of it and it has made all the difference. He is now doing much better at school, not getting into fights, helping at home and following family rules.
I have never really had any kind of emotional support and although it’s what they do, it feels more like an extended family and friendship. Knowing that I can just drop them a message whatever time of day or night, and they will get back to you immediately or as soon as possible. It just feels like there is someone there for you, no matter what. There is a sense of no judgement, either amongst their team or even with the other people from the courses. Sometimes, when people help you, it feels like they are judging you and it puts you off sharing your problems and hard to accept their support. There is none of that with these guys, it feels like someone really cares about you. I even got a little treat package when they knew I was feeling low about work pressures, which just made me feel better.
With this crisis, it has been a great help as there is always someone there, they keep us up to date on information and answer any questions that may come up. The whole group offers emotional support and has really helped keep me going. I am unable to do as many extra shifts as normal and having needed to self-isolate has all taken it’s toll on finances, so having some support with this too has been a blessed relief.
Having three teenage children and a toddler isn’t easy at the best of times, but particularly difficult with this crisis. Having their support just makes the difference.
T, July 2019
I joined the Youth Connect 5 course in the second week, back in January this year. My cousin had brought me along after completing the 13 weeks Strengthening Families programme with Crea8ing Careers. I was very anxious and reluctant to engage and was not sure that I would actually stay. I felt very uncomfortable being there initially. I had been at a stage where I simply was not getting up or doing anything and lying in bed for days. I was very anxious; however, I did return to the next session and over the coming weeks, how I felt, and my attitude changed completely.
By the end of the first five-week course, I was feeling more confident in how to support my daughter and other children with their emotional well-being and had learned gained some knowledge in applying positive strategies. I was able to talk to the children in a better way and remember laughing and saying, “children have feelings, who knew?” I really had never taken their feelings into consideration. Although I was still feeling quite low, I could already feel a change for the better and asked to complete the course for a second time, as I felt that I would get more out of it doing it again. My mood and confidence continued to increase when I did it again.
I have given up using cannabis and started working on reducing how much I was drinking. I kept trying to re-establish a more meaningful relationship with my son and managed much better with his rudeness and aggressive tone when we spoke on the phone. I just kept remembering what we had learned about stress responses on the course. My relationship with my youngest daughter has also improved. She has learning difficulties which can make things quite hard at times but now I am able to deal with her more calmly. Everyone kept saying how much change they could see in me and I really felt like I was making progress, so registered to join the 13 weeks Strengthening Families course which was starting a few weeks later. I was interested in volunteering but was worried about “letting people down”. I was using the WhatsApp group to share my ups and downs and was really surprised at getting a response from others even late at night when I felt low. I really didn’t think for a minute anyone would answer and when they did, I started to feel part of a worldwide group after feeling so isolated for so long, despite my friends and family. I still use the group on an almost daily basis.
When I started the SFSC course, I really was feeling so much better and more positive. I told all the others that hadn’t done the Youth Connect 5 course how much I had got out of it. I told them about having given up drugs, and that my son had now even said he would try and do the same, and he has and is managing to hold down a job now too. We really hadn’t got on for years, but he came and spent a couple of hours, had a cup of tea and a really good chat. It felt so good to be able to do that for the first time in years.
As the SFSC course went on I decided to get involved in volunteering as I wanted something worthwhile to do and to help Crea8ing Careers, as I had got so much from their support. I keep challenging myself with new situations and sometimes feel surprised at what I do now compared to before. I still use the group chat as support, but I also try and offer support to some of the others that are having a hard time too. It was a genuine surprise to be voted joint Inspirational Parent by others in the group at the end of the course. I’m still off the drugs and significantly reduced how much I drink; I have managed to go several weeks without drinking, although I still have the occasional night now and then.
I never really knew any black or Muslim people before, and I wasn’t racist but would not have hung out or anything like that. However, now I know a few black people from the course and outside but realised that I was in some way worried or thought they were so different but really, they are just like the rest of us. I know that sounds silly, but I would never have imagined going to visit and socialise with someone that was Muslim and wears a head scarf and all that, but the Muslim lady on the course has become a friend as well as getting to know the course leaders. I am really pleased that I have got to know them and now definitely feel more open to people from other cultures and backgrounds.
I don’t feel so alone, and I am definitely more confident about myself and things in general. I’ve started losing weight and going out walking with my daughter and dog more regularly. I want to do more volunteering with Crea8ing Careers on the courses as I know how I felt when I first started and feel that I may be able to make others feel welcome and share my experience of getting so much out of it, helping them feel less anxious. They have done my Safeguarding training with me and I got my certificate. I am just waiting for my DBS and looking forward to helping out when the courses start again after the summer.
I have registered to do another course on Adverse Childhood Experiences in September 2019 and just wish I had had the knowledge and strategies that I know now, when my children were younger. I agreed to do this case study, as I want other people to know how much I got from the courses with Crea8ing Careers and how much of a difference it has made to me.
B, August 2019
I came on to the Youth Connect 5 course, last September 2018, with my husband because our daughter was showing issues controlling her anger and struggling emotionally. We are professionals working quite pressured roles and were finding it really difficult to deal with her outbursts and behaviour.
My sister and Dad had been on the autistic spectrum and I felt strongly that my daughter was showing signs of ASD, so we were looking for a diagnosis. We had spoken to the school and other professionals and they had been very dismissive. This left us feeling bad about ourselves and as though we had failed as parents. We saw the course and thought that it may help us, but also so that we could pre-empt the professionals pointing the finger at us as parents, as we continued to pursue a diagnosis.
The course really did help. It got us considering how our daughter was feeling and what was going on for her. We had been focussed on our own perspectives and being reminded of what it was like when we were children, really helped to consider her viewpoint, emotions and developed our empathy.
Being shown practical strategies and techniques we could use and being given the time over the five weeks to get into the right frame of mind to be able to focus and embed the new behaviours into how we dealt with things was great. We felt so much better by the end, realising firstly that we were not “bad” parents, nor were we alone in our struggles with managing our children’s behaviour. We realised that there were many positives, not just in how we were already doing things but also in the children. It really helped us put things into perspective on our daughter’s behaviour as well as giving us the skills to be able to better manage.
The twenty second hug has been a great tool in lessening the tension between us as a family, creating much laughter and amusement, and allowing us to build a closer more positive relationship with her in particular. The continued support with the WhatsApp group has been a real help, as at times we have been unsure about how to handle discipline and had been getting panicky about what to do. Being able to message the group and get a response that reassured us but also gave ideas of how to keep the situation positive meant that we were able to deal with the circumstance, and everything turned out just great.
I had been worried having watched my parents and grandparents deal with my sister and how things had turned out, that my daughter could end up with similar issues. However, we feel that with the strategies we have learned and the ongoing support, we are no longer seeking a diagnosis, and will be able to manage and support her to achieve positive outcomes.
It’s hard because no matter how much you think to yourself, I’m not going to do what my mum or grandma did, when you are in a particular situation with your children, you don’t know what else to do and start repeating behaviours you had wanted to avoid. The course gave us the alternative strategies and techniques to use which are having more positive outcomes.
I would recommend this course to all parents from any walk of life as it has made such a difference to us as a family.
Lucy, Dec 2018
It was quite by chance that I ended up attending a Youth Connect 5 course. With eight children between us, my friend and I had done our fair share of moaning about how hard this parenting lark actually was day in and day out. One day she phoned and asked if I fancied going on this parenting course she’d found on social media.
When we arrived, we weren’t sure what to expect but we were soon put at ease by the lovely course facilitators, Lynne and Suzie. It quickly became a weekly highlight for us; a safe space where we could share freely, listen, laugh and cry with one another.
I think the biggest things I learned over the five weeks was that firstly I am far from alone riding the roller-coaster that is parenting in 2018. Too often we feel isolated, yet at any given time, others are going through similar experiences. The course gave us all an opportunity to learn from and support each other. The second thing that soon became apparent was that the strategies given actually work!
Our family life has been calmer as a result and I have also been able to pass on my knowledge to my partner. Finally, the course emphasises personal wellbeing and the importance of “putting on your own oxygen mask first”. I have made some life changing decisions as a direct result of attending Youth Connect 5, which have and will continue to have, such a positive impact on our family life.
Thank you, Lynne, Suzie and all the lovely ladies at the Belvidere centre in Wallasey for reminding me that parenting and indeed, life itself is an experience to be shared!
Louise, Nov 2018
Crea8ing Careers delivered the Youth Connect 5 parent support programme at our community centre. It has been one of the best courses I have ever done! The way it was delivered meant that not only was it a bit of a laugh, but I didn’t feel judged and could admit some of the things that I had needed to improve.
I realised that I might not get it right every time, but I could keep trying to remember and work on the skills and tips we learned to help improve myself and family relationships. I have really been able to use this in my day to day life, and I can see the changes already.
Registrar of Companies for England and Wales: Crea8ing Careers CIC. Company Reg. No. 8700217