Helen – A Service User’s Story

When we first met Helen she was depressed, struggling through the process of losing her daughters to long term foster care, living on a budget and still struggling to get out of a controlling relationship, even though she was divorced 5 years previously and her ex was remarried. She was also being controlled by her son who lived with her ex, his father.

At the first meeting, we thought that she wouldn't fully engage with the service being offered and started her on a 6-week probationary period. How wrong we were. She struggled initially, but only because it was so ingrained in her to agree with everything that was suggested, which meant that after discussing issues she talked of the ideal course of action with such determination, but never followed through with any actions.

It was about four weeks in when we asked her whether she really felt that what had just been suggested was something she could actually do, that she looked sheepish and agreed that she had no idea how to do it. This was effectively the start of her growth spurt. She became absolutely open about her ability to stand up for herself and the repercussions of speaking as she wished. We spent time on these issues and others.

The difference now is that, having fully engaged in two Lift Psychology courses - one on stress and mood management and the other on self-esteem, she is able to stand up to her ex-husband and constantly asserts her rights to live her own life. She has also embarked on a new relationship, and whilst her new partner has issues with confidence, trust and self-esteem, she refuses to let him control her, recognising that if she doesn't set the boundaries now she will end up with a duplicated relationship.

She is currently looking to move to a new home for a new start in her new stronger persona.

She has been a delight to work with and to be alongside as she has grown and become a strong and more confident woman. We will be closing her shortly and sad to no longer see this lovely lady.

Kim – A Volunteer’s Story

Some eighteen months ago, I saw an advert for an open day and went along. I was very impressed with the services Splitz provide and the friendly atmosphere that I felt as soon as I entered the Splitz office.

My core training was brilliant. Putting my new skills into practice was a little scary but I liken it to driving a new car you don't really learn until you’re out there on your own. I was nervous but my co-ordinator built my confidence and she still does today. Through my experience of supporting Clients and training, my knowledge of domestic violence and its impact grew. I began to value myself knowing that I was able to make a difference.

I have built good relationships with other agencies, learned IT skills and can now write accurate and succinct case notes. In addition to this I have gained a deeper respect for confidentiality and autonomy. I have where possible gone for every training programme available. My learning with Splitz keeps me motivated.

I am very proud to be able to call myself a Buddy. Volunteering has given me confidence, self esteem, motivation and a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of humans and their amazing resilience.  Volunteering for Splitz has sometimes challenged my beliefs and values and has also helped me become more open minded and gained insight to others’ needs.

The past 18 months have been fantastic - I am still learning which is fascinating in itself - I never want to stop!

Martha – A Story of Matching

Martha was my first match after I completed my buddy training. As soon as I was introduced to Martha, it was apparent we were going to get on well throughout our befriending. I was still really nervous because Martha was the first person I visited on my own, I needn’t have worried because we hit it off straight away.

Martha was very open with me right from my first visit and from the start there were no awkward silences or worry about how we were going to fill the visit time. Martha really wanted to get herself back on track and did all she could personally to achieve this, several times each week she visited parent and toddler groups, the library and also made sure she went out each day which helped increase her social circle. Martha was always very open to new ideas and suggestions.

I met with Martha for a little over a year and through some really tough points in her life - her divorce, her young son breaking his femur and sadly her father passing away. I watched Martha grow stronger mentally and more confident each visit which helped her deal with these events.

Martha was interested in doing some voluntary work herself and she talked about ‘giving back’ to the community so I was really pleased when she completed her buddy training and is now a Buddy with Splitz too, this also means we can continue our meeting up and bouncing different ideas around together.... just under a different capacity.

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