“Little things helped massively” Hayley’s story

Hayley said that she heard of Hopeful Families through an event organised at the Jobcentre, where Hopeful Families had a stand.

“The Family Mentor has helped with a lot of things and provided practical help and advice on how to go about certain things. The Family Mentor was really on it. The amount of phone calls she has made on my behalf to organisations that I would not have thought of has been immense. She rang the Benefits Office, arranged for help for me from an organisation to get the DLA form filled in. I did not know where to start.

Hayley said that the Family Mentor referred her to Live Well, Careers Association and the Mental Health Team. The Family Mentor also contacted the Fire Service which provided specialist equipment for her son. Hayley did not know about the existence of any of these services.

Hayley told us that there was an incident at the school. “The Family Mentor got me to ring the Safeguarding Team, I did not know they existed. I would not have phoned myself, but the Family Mentor as an outsider, with no emotional attachment, was able to see that what happened was wrong. Little things like that helped me massively.”

When Hayley met the Family Mentor, her son had just had a series of life threatening operations over a period of two and a half years’ that she had been left to deal with by herself. Hayley said “I was solely focused on this and nothing else with no time to think what had happened and then it really hit me. I needed to take a step back.

“Due to the support from Hopeful Families I am not as stressed out and am better able to deal with the situation. I was not sleeping before, but with a bit of help and information I have been able to sleep again and am calmer in myself. Before I was feeling anxious all the time. If it had not been for the Family Mentor I would have been in a worse place with my mental health and stress.

“I am extremely grateful beyond words. I dread to think what my mental health would be like now if I had not got in touch with the Community Engagement Worker from Groundwork. Hopeful Families was just what I needed at the time.

“As an outsider looking in, the Family Mentor was able to offer practical advice as I was in the thick of it. Some of the simple things suggested may not necessary have entered my brain. Since my son has been ill I forgot nearly everything, functioning has been hard.

“It was the best thing that could have ever happened. Hopeful Families did not know about my circumstances but pointed me to a lot of help that I did not know of. It was the best thing since sliced bread. When I went to the GP with things, I felt fobbed off and felt the answer was to throw pills at it. That only helped when I was taking them and did not deal with the problems. Now, I see the Family Mentor as and when it is deemed necessary.”

She said the Family Mentors flexibility helps with responding to her needs and that she knows that the Family Mentor is at the end of a phone if she needs help with anything.

“The Family Mentor gives me ideas to think about that I had not thought of myself. She is looking at arranging some training from home (funded by the Hopeful Families Lottery Funding) to help fill my days with something else, as having time means I overthink things. The Family Mentor understands that I am not able to commit to longer training plans, doing a short course a few hours a week at home is more realistic.

“Personally, I do not know what I will do next, as my son has not done with operations, and I have been in limbo for two and a half years, I need help to figure it out. Hayley said that she wanted to relay how important meeting the Community Engagement Worker was in the first place. She said ‘What was a bleak outlook at the time, now looks better than it did’. Hopeful Families was exactly what I needed.”

Hayley said she could not be more grateful for the services that the Family Mentor has put her in touch with. She still has support from Carers Association and Live Well, and alongside their support and that of the Family Mentor she said she does not feel on her own.