Dee’s story: “I felt hopeless. Now I have purpose again”

Getting involved in our work has boosted her self-worth

When Dee became unable to work because of health problems, she felt like she had no purpose. Now she’s a valued member of our client representative team, helping us to shape the way Porchlight operates. As someone we’ve supported in the past, her perspective offers valuable insight.

Dee has a spinal problem which causes her chronic pain, back problems, and sleep apnoea. She experiences low energy levels and struggles with stamina.

Dee used to have a good job at an accounting firm. But her office was on the third floor, and her health condition made it difficult and painful to get up and down the stairs.

Eventually Dee became too ill to do her job and was let go. Her condition worsened to the point that she became unable to walk.

On top of coming to terms with losing her mobility and her job, Dee struggled to apply for financial support.

It was a difficult time, she says. “Not being able to do anything makes you feel hopeless; worth nothing.”

Dee was put in touch with our community and mental health support services. With the help of our staff, she was able to attend coffee mornings and get more involved in her local community. She enjoyed what she was doing but wanted more – something productive she could take pride in. “I just wanted to use my brain,” she says, “I wanted to feel useful.”

Dee’s keyworker referred her to our involvement team, who empower the people we support to have their voices heard within the organisation. Involving our clients in important decision making helps us build a charity that works better for everyone.

Dee says she felt able to open up to the involvement team about her insecurities. After getting to know her, the team invited her to sit on an interview panel.

“I was scared and insecure” she says, “I’d lost some of my confidence. But it went well.”

Two years on, Dee’s taken part in around 20 interview panels for roles across the organisation. She also sits on the staff recruitment and development steering group and is involved in discussions on interview best practise.

Dee takes pride in what she does and feels a sense of responsibility to help find the best person for the job. She says she’s become invested in Porchlight and its values. “The more involved I am, and the more I learn about Porchlight, the more committed I am. Involvement with Porchlight is so much more than just knowing what the organisation does.”