A few of the people we've helped...
Bob had to move home to get away from bullies who tormented and mocked him smashed his windows. Bob was very scared, ‘I felt so vulnerable that if someone asked me for money, I would just give it to them’. He suffered from several physical complaints, including serious back problems which meant that he could not walk very far without being in excruciating pain. Bob ended up in rent arrears because he couldn’t understand bills and letters. Bob started attending St Wilfrid’s and quickly made friends and told us his story. Bob couldn’t cook and had existed on eating takeaways every day and as he put on weight his back problems became more severe. We suggested that attending our cooking course might be useful and that there was a place for him in computer classes. We referred Bob to the Learning Disability Team to get help to adapt his new house for his disabilities and help looking after himself better. Because of his learning disabilities he didn’t understand about healthy eating and had difficulty hospital and doctors appointments. However, since coming to St Wilf’s Bob has become a much happier person. Earlier last year he had a back operation which left him housebound for several weeks, but as soon as he could, he returned to the Centre. We are sure that Bob will go from strength to strength.Bob said “I’ve been going to St Wilfrid’s for over a year now and I am much stronger in many ways. It’s brought me on a long way, and would you believe it I’m down in the skills workshop as well as learning cooking and computers.”
Deb is a mother of four children who has not seen them in years and comes regularly to the Centre.Articulate and softly spoken she had suffer a nervous breakdown and become homeless. Deb was a very shy person when she arrived at St Wilfrids and would not talk to anyone, but a transformation has seen her become a friend to all who attend St Wilfrid’s. A key element in building her confidence was arranging specialist dental treatment that she needed and she now flashes a new set of gleaming white teeth with every smile.
Deb is a friend to all at the Centre and was delighted when two ‘girls’ at St Wilfrid’s brought her flowers and a card on ‘Mother’s Day’.
When asked what the Centre means to her she said ‘I love the place, it has changed me totally coming here’.
Jen suffered mental health and social problems before she came to the Centre and was so worried about walking through the door that our Welfare Manager would go and meet her and bring her to the Centre.Jen had a very traumatised past, both as a child and as an adult. She is divorced and has several children and grandchildren. When she came to the Centre Jen used to go to her daughter’s house in the evening in order to sleep there and because there wasn’t a bed for her in, she slept on the sofa or a chair.
She was scared of staying in her own home at night. Since coming to St Wilfrid’s Jen has integrated marvellously with the clients and grown in confidence, taking part in numerous activities including the women’s group and the drama class. She took part in a sponsored swim to raise money for the Pakistan flood appeal even though swimming was something she thought she would never be able to do again. St Wilfrid’s have been able to give Jen confidence and help her regain her self esteem. Perhaps the biggest success in all this was that now Jen is able to sleep at home in her own bed at night. This is just another way that St Wilfrid’s helps vulnerable people. She believes that the Centre has given her life back.
The progress that some people make at the Centre can be dramatic. When Kat first came to the Centre she physically shook because of her nerves. She had spent months in a psychiatric hospital over a period of many years. Her confidence was extremely low and her problems were very severe. At first we encouraged her to take part in our activities but she found things very difficult. With patience and unlimited time we helped build Kat’s self esteem. Kat went from strength to strength and become one of the best machine operators here at the Centre where we make football clocks. Kat has now progressed and takes part in many other activities at the Centre and is one of our highest achievers. It is hard to recognise her as the same person. In 2010 Kat put herself forward to become a Member of the People’s Parliament run by the Disability Parliament in Sheffield and she intends to spend time helping other people who are less fortunate and unable to speak up for themselves.
Sam first came to the Centre in April 2011 after attending a statutory day service once a week for some time. He came initially for one day a week and it took a little while for Sam to settle in. Sam was experiencing severe mental health problems at the time and wanted to be back around people but not pressured into talking or interacting with them. St Wilfrid’s allowed him the space to do this. Within a few weeks of Sam starting he began to take part in simple activities such as dominoes or table tennis and gradually met more people in the same situation as he was and got to know other clients and volunteers at the Centre. Very soon Sam was feeling a lot better about himself but continued on medication whilst joining other classes available to him at the Centre. He first of all took part in a cookery course and after this, with a little encouragement, signed up to join the skills workshop.Prior to attending St Wilfrid’s, Sam used to sit at home watching television all day, not even opening the curtains - sitting in his own little world as he gradually fell deeper and deeper into depression. St Wilfrid’s provided Sam with the opportunity of mixing with other people and proving to himself that above all, whatever his situation, he still had something to offer. The change in Sam over the months has indeed been really astonishing and at present he no longer requires medication for his mental health problems. In his own words Sam said ‘people at the Centre have helped me because they have listened and given me time to tell my story. I have never experienced this anywhere else.’Sam’s confidence and self esteem have grown out of all proportion and in September last year he took part in a 15 mile charity walk in aid of St Wilfrid’s. Sam says that his state of wellbeing is all down to the Centre because ‘it has enabled me to get my life back on track and I don’t think there’s another place quite like St Wilfrids’.
Zek from the Middle East has a very distressing story to tell. Whilst living at home with his family, his country was occupied by a neighbouring country. The occupiers tried to impose their customs and religious practices on the people. Zek’s mother wanted the family to stay true to their customs and religion and one day the troops entered the family home and killed Zek’s mother in front of him. Zek was then taken away and tortured for months whilst in custody. He eventually came to England suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTS) which exacerbated his already poor mental health. When Zek came to the Centre he was so frightened that he would not even shake hands with staff and was terrified that something was going to happen to him. However he continued to attend the Centre and gradually took part in football matches - a football player with natural ability. He asked if we could help him to get involved in a local Sunday league side although he suffered a serious knee injury that needed surgery.The next best thing was to take him to the football matches at Bramall Lane where he really came alive and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, becoming an adopted ‘Blade’. The Centre is currently helping Zek become involved in cooking, literacy and other classes and we hope eventually to move him on. This is a very difficult and sensitive situation and Zek will always have the memories. Perhaps St Wilfrid’s can make his life bearable by listening to his story and trying to help him look forward instead of back.