I lived on a small holding with my parents and brother. I was abused by an elderly man who we called uncle a family friend from the age of 5yrs old. I had nightmares and suffered at school. When I was older I started self harming, I had a child but Social Services removed him from my home. I then became heavily involved with the Mental Health team. I suffered flashbacks, depression and anxiety. I was told my son was to be fostered and never come home, I sank deeper into depression.

Introduction of Next Steps [How you became involved]

I was introduced to next steps thirteen years ago by some support workers. I have been a volunteer for over ten years, I was taken there to integrate with others and make friends. I have made lovely friends and friends on the staff. I can talk to others and no one judges me. Last year I raised £800 by shaving my head for the charity “Next Steps”. I attend the “out of hours” club it’s been a life saver for me. I attend weekly to volunteer and I can use the computers for any length of time which is brilliant. I made Christmas dinners on Christmas day for two years on the trot, so people were not alone at Christmas. I have my lunch here a few times in the week so I’m not at home alone feeling depressed. Next Steps is like a family we all accept each other and help each other, I’ve had some great times.

What does Next Steps mean to you [Your future]

Next Steps is a bolt hole for me to run to. I can be with friends. I can help raise money and be a part of a team. In December I passed my first aid, and this week in January I do my food hygiene course. Next month I will do my Midas course to drive the money bus, so I can help people in rural areas not feel lonely like I have and support them to go out and join in with activities.