Sam looks after her young son, Isaac, who she had when she was 16 years old.
At the time of joining DurhamWorks, she had not been living in Stanley long (she moved from Washington) and was feeling quite isolated, with several mental and physical health problems. She was also in a controlling, abusive relationship which was having a marked effect on her. She started to come to PACT House, Stanley to meet new people and joined Plan 4 Life, SHAID to do some volunteering, one-to-one sessions to improve her mental health and look for part-time work to fit around her son, who is at school.
Through her volunteering work at PACT House, meeting so many people in similar or worse situations as her, Sam’s mental health has improved, along with her confidence.
The one-to-one support she received has had a positive impact on her health and particularly her anxiety levels. She found the strength to finish her abusive relationship and brought her son into the PACT family, enjoying the community meal every week and doing kid’s activities in the holidays with him. She has also made lots of new friends which has helped her so much, giving her even more support. She has completed Plan 4 Life’s Teambuilding NOCN course, where she helped other participants who needed support with the course.
During the Covid-19 crisis, Sam has struggled with her health, having experienced the virus whilst looking after her young son on her own. Her mental health has also took a battering, with isolation being a major factor. As well as relying on support from the Plan 4 Life team and PACT House, Sam has also helped other participants with moral support via social media and Plan 4 Life regular Zoom meetings.
After all the obstacles put in her way, Sam has still managed to start a BSc (Hons) degree course in Paramedic Science at Sunderland University in April. She has said herself that the time she has spent on the Plan 4 Life programme and also the volunteering work done at PACT House, Stanley have been invaluable to being able to go to University. The support systems that Sam has built up will continue to help her throughout her course, so hopefully she continues to succeed.