Kirsty has been involved with A Better Start since September 2018, having attended the HENRY programme, and she has also now become a Parent Champion.
Previous to being involved with A Better Start, Kirsty felt very isolated as an unemployed, single mum who didn’t have family or friends nearby. She felt very alone but now through A Better Start has met other parents who she keeps in touch with, including her best friend. The experience has made a really big difference to her mental well-being, and her confidence has been boosted by both the HENRY programme and Parent Champion training.
Since her involvement with the project Kirsty reports that it is it has made “a massive difference with my career focus”. She feels that so much more is achievable than she felt previously – Kirsty has been inspired by A Better Start to achieve her dream of becoming a midwife, and it has really improved her confidence and helped to give her the support and social network she needs to thrive as a single mum with mental health issues. Since becoming involved with A Better Start she has started taking two college courses and is now in the process of applying to do a BSc in Midwifery.
Being able to attend events with a crèche has been really beneficial for Kirsty as she really appreciates having the time to get 5 minutes to herself and get to know other parents in the area.
Kirsty said, “I felt so alone beforehand and how I feel like I have a whole support system”, furthermore, “the project is really helpful for those without money or less money as it doesn’t stop anybody from getting involved”.
Kirsty added “just having a reason to get out of the house and see people has made a big difference” and she reports that the project has also “helped friends who were isolated”. Kirsty says that she is looking forward to working with the engagement officers on an event about budgeting in the new year. She also hopes to be able to get involved with upcoming projects aimed towards single parent families.
Overall, Kirsty says that the project is “exactly what I needed” and she would encourage other parents to get involved.
Our ‘Parent Champion Stories’ series aims to share the experiences and stories of the wonderful Parent Champions who volunteer for the A Better Start Southend project. Without these creative, forward thinking and inspiring parents, the project would simply not exist. Turning Tides would like to thank Kirsty and all of the Parent Champions who we get to work with, for helping to improve the future for the children of Southend.
If you’d like to learn more about the project, how you can get involved or becoming a Parent Champion you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01702 356069.