Julie moved into the area 5 years ago, and was adjusting to living on her own after her children had grown up and found homes of their own. Now when she looks back, she is surprised at what she has achieved, and how it’s affected her identity.
“I was at a real loose end, and wasn’t really interested in doing anything, but then a neighbour persuaded me to start coffee mornings with her. That went really well, so then we started a kids club with support from the local authority. We were doing loads of activities but then the funding changed and it was harder. That was when Ruth, a local health worker got involved. She was brilliant, and helped us to get funding for more stuff and help from PCSO’s, army cadets and other groups. We started a regular Monday night group, and did special events, like the Beano and mosaic projects with Chapel Street Community Arts. Being part of a bigger project is good, you get help with stuff like finances, raising money and making payments etc, but it still pushes your boundaries. I did a speech at the mosaic unveiling – I was so nervous! But I was really proud.
I do most of my socialising at the activities I’m involved in. I don’t really ‘go out’. I think doing all this has made me more confident about expressing my opinions and feelings and helped me learn about other people’s experiences. I’d like to do a job like this, helping people and doing things in the community, but I don’t get paid for what I do, being involved is enough for me. I get a real sense of achievement when we do things, especially when I see the end results, and what we’ve all achieved together. It’s a good feeling. I don’t feel like anyone’s Mum, or wife, I just feel like me, I just feel like Julie again.”