A DERBY woman whose anxiety was so bad she struggled to leave the house has thanked members of a family hub for helping to rebuild her life.
Kelly Richardson, 32, has been suffering from trauma after a difficult 10-year relationship came to an end, leaving her crippled with anxiety.
But Kelly has begun attending a mum’s group which is part of a family hub at Enthusiasm Trust, in Cotton Lane, where she meets other mums and has started to rebuild her confidence.
She said: “After 10 years in a bad relationship I was quite poorly and just couldn’t leave the house. I could only eat certain foods and just really struggled to control my life.
“It took me a long time to build up confidence to come here, but I came for the first time in October and I have found a circle of good friends, who are all really good-hearted.
“They have persuaded me to try new foods – like tacos and fajitas – and although I have struggled with trauma I am starting to feel like me again, and it’s all thanks to the people here.”
Enthusiasm Trust has been helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds in the city to reach their full potential since the charity was launched in 1992.
It provides clubs, workshops, homework support and one-to-one mentoring programmes offering young people the opportunities to gain skills, knowledge and experience from a variety of activities.
The family hub was created to involve parents and community members in the organisation which will, in turn, help the young people.
Amber Clarke, 31, has been attending the mum’s group since September. She has two children, 12-year-old Harvey and Lillie, 11.
She said: “When I was younger, I used to get in trouble all the time and so I ended up with a Youth Worker from Enthusiasm, who tried to keep me on the straight and narrow.
“I went through four different secondary schools because I kept getting excluded, I just couldn’t cope with that environment. Now my children attend some of the activities here at Enthusiasm and it’s been great to be able to come here myself.
“It means I’m not just stuck at home and so it’s a bit of a lifeline. You need to socialise, it’s important. And there’s always a welcoming face here.”
The hub is run by volunteers, who are mums themselves, and have undergone training in first aid, food hygiene, safeguarding and health and safety.
They also stage events, such as a recent Christmas market, to raise money which is used to bring people to the centre and to deliver food parcels to members of the local community who are struggling.
Volunteer Helen Lenton, 39, said: “I came here to the youth club when I was young and my kids come here too. The mum’s group is great because it gives everyone the chance to sit in the warm, share their problems and to have a laugh.
“Sometimes we batch cook meals to take to people living nearby or bake cakes. It’s only a couple of hours once a week, but for some people it’s an absolute lifeline.”
Helen is also the community poverty commissioner and attends the poverty commission meeting with Derby City council to ensure that there is a voice of the community herd by those making policy .
In addition to this Helen sits on the board of Trustees as the community Voice representative producing and delivering a community board report .
As well as the mum’s group the family hub runs a supper club where volunteers like Helen cook for the community using donated food. Boxercise classes are due to start in the New Year, along with counselling sessions, advice clinic and fitness sessions from LE strength and conditioning coach Luke Ellis.
April Allman, CEO of Enthusiasm, said: “Although a great deal of our work is centred around young people, we have moved towards supporting the entire family to provide better prospects, health and wellbeing for all.
“The Family Hub has created a sense of belonging and ownership and in the current climate there is also a need for warm safe places for all. In the future we will be bringing specialists into the hub to help with accessing services, or to help them gain education and employment.
“The hub is growing all the time and we hope to be able to support 200 people over time. Enthusiasm is all about trying to show people that there is a different path and creating opportunities to help our families grow and flourish.”