Lyn’s New Leaf Journey

New Leaf Participant, Lyn, doing some woodwork

New Leaf Participant, Lyn, doing some woodwork

Lyn joined the New Leaf programme in July 2019. She had previously worked in catering but was suffering from several long-term health conditions which affected her ability to work. She was volunteering at a Woodwork for Wellness class and dreamed of becoming a craft facilitator herself.

Through her remarkable learning journey, Lyn has developed the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make positive life choices, enhance her health and well-being, and participate in the local community. The catalyst for this transformation was her volunteering role at Woodwork to Wellness, a community project helping people, many with disabilities, make things. Whilst there, Lyn found a natural empathy and a desire to support her fellow service users, which shaped her future employment aspirations as a self-employed craft facilitator. Over time, she has used her learning achievements and newfound skills to better serve the community at Woodwork to Wellness.

One of Lyn’s biggest challenges was her fear of IT. It was a big barrier for her, but she knew that digital literacy was essential to help her access online courses and help manage her future self-employment. It would also be useful to back up her teaching with online YouTube-type videos at Woodwork to Wellness.

Another challenge was returning to the classroom after over thirty years. It was a daunting prospect, but in 2020, Lyn took the leap and embarked on an online education and training qualification. At first, she struggled with the technology and workload, but over time, she found she was enjoying preparing lesson plans and this gave her belief in her ability. Unfortunately, in early 2021, the course was cancelled, which was a massive disappointment to Lyn. Yet again, she had to pick herself up and find a new direction.

This time, Lyn faced her IT challenges head-on by starting an L1 IT Skills course, leading on to an EDCL qualification. She would never have embarked on this path without the confidence she had gained from doing her previous course. She also accepted help and support from our New Leaf Mentor, Helen Armstrong, on a 1:1 basis, both on her ECDL course content and preparations for her future self-employment. With Helen’s help, Lyn was able to battle her IT demons and win!

Lyn’s learning has given her real self-belief, knowing that she can achieve what she thought was impossible, overcome challenges and deal with disappointment.

” Thanks to New Leaf I am comfortable communicating via email, which I never was before. I formed routines which has been extremely helpful and has added structure to my days and use of IT.”

”My increased confidence helps me at Woodwork to Wellness. I feel more at ease with the other people there and have self-belief in what I am showing them. I can use my experience to help others overcome their fears too!”

”I felt I had to overcome/face my fears otherwise I wouldn’t be able to move towards achieving my aspirations.”

Lyn is an inspiration, having worked to make a positive change in her life and in her community through learning, personal development, and active citizenship. She has shown that age, health issues, fears, or any other barrier can be overcome with help and support. It is never too late to change direction, develop new dreams and aspirations, build hope, and learn the skills needed to realise your ambitions. Lyn has done this and is now in a much better position to make her dreams a reality.

The New Leaf programme is all about you. Taking the time to learn what has held you back in the past and what needs to be done to help you overcome those barriers going forward to create long-lasting change.

If you are currently out of work and living in Warrington or Cheshire, New Leaf could help you overcome your barriers and have a brighter future, sign up to New Leaf today. You can find out more about the programme, here.

New Leaf is led by Torus Foundation and is part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and The National Lottery Community Fund.