BLOG: A Client Shares Their Story
Here at Oakleaf, we encourage our clients to share their stories and experiences so others can see that they’re not alone in the challenges they’re facing:
“I first heard about Oakleaf from staff at Farnham Road Hospital, who recommended it to me as a safe space to go to learn to connect with people who are dealing with similar circumstances to myself. At the time I was very withdrawn and suffering from severe social anxiety after a long period of isolation and depression. It took me a little while to work up the courage but eventually I went for a meeting with the Oakleaf team, and I am so glad that I did.
“The team were very friendly and understanding. They showed me the activities and courses that were available and suggested that I might enjoy their gardening training, which involved going out once a week with a group of other clients and volunteers to work at customers’ houses. This was a great experience as it allowed me to work as part of a team and make friends all while learning new skills. There was a classroom theory part where I learned safety procedures and plant identification and the gardening team that ran the course were very kind and great fun to work for. It also added some structure to my week and gave me something to look forward to.
“Alongside the gardening, I was able to take part in activities such as: yoga, meditation, Tai-Chi, pilates and mindfulness which gave me the skills to manage my anxiety and depression as well as improve my physical health, which was not great when I started. The activities were run in small groups by trained instructors and many of the people I met there are still my friends today. I was also offered a course of counselling which lasted 12 weeks and this gave me the opportunity to process thoughts and feelings in a safe space and gain perspective on my life.
“The team were all really understanding and supportive when I was going through a very difficult time. Even since I left, the team have continued to contact me throughout these lockdowns to check that I am okay; their kindness and dedication to helping people has really changed my life. I continue to use the skills I learned at Oakleaf to manage my mental health on a daily basis and as a result of my experience at Oakleaf, I decided to apply to college. I am now in my second year and training to be a therapeutic counsellor so that I can help people the same way that Oakleaf helped me.
“I cannot thank Oakleaf enough for the services that they provided for me and continue to provide for people who desperately need connection and support.”
– Russell Lewis, Oakleaf Client
If you would like to find out more about becoming a client and join in with any of our online Wellbeing Activities, please click here.
If you are able to donate to Oakleaf and help us provide much-needed support during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, we would be incredibly grateful—we now need you more than ever: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1006744