Dennie's story: "It felt like people wanted me to be there"

"It felt like people wanted me to be there"

Dennie has learning difficulties and used to find it hard to go out and do things independently. She wanted to feel useful and get into volunteering but didn’t have the confidence to make it happen. Now she’s feeling confident and ready to get out there in the world.

I used to stay at home a lot and wouldn’t use public transport. I knew there were some community activities out there but I felt like they were for other people and not for me.

I’m really lucky to have a great family who support me, but I wanted to give my mum a break from looking after me all the time.

Aspirations and becoming more independent

Me and Lindsay (Dennie’s Aspirations worker) met up and set little goals together. She was very patient with me and kind. I never felt too shy to ask her questions. She made me feel like I could achieve things. Lindsay understood my limitations and wouldn't push me. She just encouraged me to do things she knew I could manage.

I always felt positive about the future after our meetings.

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She encouraged me to go to a cooking session at Chequers Kitchen. It sounds daft, but I wanted to properly learn how to cut vegetables, so I could cook for myself.

I was so nervous before but I went in but people were smiling and happy to talk to me. It felt like people wanted me to be there.

I got the bus there on my own. That was a massive step for me.

Looking to the future with volunteering

I know now that there are loads of opportunities out there and I know I can access them.

I feel like I will always have anxiety but I can now manage it better. I am better at taking deep breaths and not worrying so much about things going wrong.

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You will surprise yourself in what you can achieve in a short space of time. Never give up.

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I am going to volunteer to be a buddy for elderly people. Once I’ve done that for a bit I want to get back into work too. I can’t wait to get back out there.

If you are thinking about doing something you want to do don't let being nervous stop you. Go for it. You will surprise yourself in what you can achieve in a short space of time. Never give up.