“I had no confidence at all. I was isolated. There was no family around me where I lived.”
Katie is a single mum to three little girls. She became poorly a few years back and Early Help got involved to support her and the girls. When Early Help finished they didn’t want Katie to be without support so they introduced her to Safe Families for Children and she was matched with a volunteer from the community.
Even though her health had improved, Katie recalls that she didn’t feel she knew who she was in herself and that prevented her from having the kind of relationship she wanted with her girls. “I felt like a failure,” said Katie, “like I’d failed in my relationship with them.”
The volunteer was someone Katie could to talk to, a friend that she could offload on if she had had a bad week. The volunteer came once a week after school and they sat and chatted about the week and how the girls were doing. If Katie had anything on her mind she could bring it up and offload.
Frustrated with one of her girl’s misbehaviour, Katie welcomed the volunteer’s suggestions for techniques which have changed the home dynamics and helped Katie “gain a proper relationship with girls”.
“The volunteer brought out all my confidence,” says Katie. “She saved us. She made us a better family.
“At the beginning I felt very isolated and alone and now I feel I can be a good mum. I’ve got so much confidence now. I’m not scared of taking the girls out now. So we go into town now, to the museum…we’re going on our first train ride next week. A year ago I’d never dreamed of doing that.”
Katie says the girls are so much happier. “They used to be – this sounds bad – miserable and sad but now we’re doing more things I see them smile and laugh and argue between each other more. Before they’d play by themselves. This is a more normal sibling relationship now.”
Although Safe Families support has officially closed now, Katie is still in touch with her volunteer.
“I see my volunteer at local church and she calls me now and then to see how I am, so it’s like having a normal friend even though the case has closed. It’s lovely to know she’s still there if I need to talk to her.”