Strength in [participant] numbers !
Early in 2020 we held HeadsUp workshops here at the Advice Store in Basildon and the group got on so well that they have kept in touch with each other since, providing support and encouragement.
Many of our current participants were women in their twenties and early thirties and a lot of them were single parents who individually told their PSW how isolated motherhood had left them, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring them together to meet people in similar circumstances.
They were understandably nervous the first week, but the HeadsUp trainer broke the ice. However, two instantly hit it off, swapping numbers and met up to go shopping between workshops. It was during this retail therapy that one confessed to the other she was dyslexic, but was too shy to tell the HeadsUp trainer she needed extra help during some of the exercises. Her new friend was understanding and assisted her the following week. Another participant told the group at the second workshop she had not spoken to anyone other than her children since they had all convened the previous week. Subsequently, she has met on a couple of occasions in a coffee shop with another participant who lives nearby.
The HeadsUp trainer said he had never seen a group gel so well and encouraged them to follow each other on social media to keep the momentum they had built going. He also encouraged them to take up volunteering, so we arranged a few weeks later for someone from Volunteer Essex to come in and address them together and then individually about their specific interests. At this get together one of them told the others she was applying for a role as a passenger assistant on buses for disabled children and one of the other participants told her that she used to do that job and was able to pass on advice. It worked, she got the job and the team and her fellow participants could not be happier for her.