Bernie's story: "I am so much more confident now. Things are really looking up"

Talking to Aspirations was the start of sorting my life out.

Last year when we all went into lockdown things were tough. The schools shut and my eldest daughter was sent home from nursery. She really struggled with being at home all the time and she wasn’t sleeping properly.

We didn’t have a laptop so it was hard to keep her occupied in the day without contact with her friends. At the time, I was also looking after my new-born daughter who was 11 weeks old.

At the same time my partner was also experiencing issues with his mental health and was diagnosed with a mental health condition by the GP. It felt like it was one thing going wrong after the other, and I couldn't see things getting better. It’s safe to say we were all struggling and day to day was difficult to get through.

We were put in touch with early help for the problems we were facing. They were supportive and helped a lot with the girls. They recognised I was struggling too and that’s when they mentioned Aspirations to me.

Finding support with Aspirations

When I first spoke to Paul from Aspirations, I was relieved because he spoke to me like a normal person. I didn’t feel judged at all. He asked me about my interests and asked me what I wanted to do in the future.

I’ve always been passionate about baking and decorating cakes, so we found a cake decorating course. I was very nervous about going and my brain tried to talk me out of going multiple times. But I told myself “nothing bad is going to happen” and I made myself go.

The course was brilliant. I met a wonderful teacher and I learnt how to make professional icing flowers.

Paul also set me up with a laptop which we now all use. It’s been amazing for my daughters while they’re still at home from school. It’s also given me the opportunity to join online social groups to meet new people. A real lifeline.

Moving forward

Once things settle down again I’m going to put myself out there and officially start up my cake business. I’ve been teaching myself about small business marketing and I’m excited for the future for me and my family.

I am so much more confident now and things are really looking up.

This whole experience has taught me to be brave and to try things. I’ve learnt that if you try and things don't work out, at least you can say you’ve tried and that’s the most important thing.

You can find out more about Aspirations and our mental health services on our website. Our new Coronavirus information and resources can be found here.

If you prefer to talk through how Porchlight can help you get the support you need, you can call our helpline free 24/7 on 0800 567 7699.

If you are in emotional distress and need urgent help the Release the Pressure team in Kent is also available 24/7. You can text the word KENT to 85258 or call 0800 107 0160

Aspirations is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through The National Lottery Community Fund.

Lottery community fund