“Before I joined Oakleaf I was in bed every single day. I am a very organised person who thrives on having structure in my week, but my life lacked purpose. When I was at my lowest, my mum researched what support was available in the local area, and she found Oakleaf.
“Joining in the activities at Oakleaf gave me structure, and helped me to find a purpose in life again. I live outside of Guildford and I would struggle to attend the in-person activities due to public transport. I really benefited from the online alternatives that I could take part in from home. I am glad that Oakleaf will be continuing to offer virtual support when lockdown eases.
“Since joining Oakleaf in early 2020, I have been taking part in a wide variety of activities. The first is Cooking and Nutrition. We create low cost meals, which are great, as a lot of people are on benefits and don’t have as much money to spend on food. I enjoy the process of making the meals from scratch.
“Yoga is another new activity I have taken up throughout lockdown; one I enjoy thoroughly. On Wednesday’s I participate in ‘Check in and Chat’, which is lovely – a really fun hour. We have a lot of giggles and laughs, and I have built up a good relationship with the members of the group over the year. I come out of it feeling uplifted. It is also nice that it is set in the middle of the week as it gives you a bit of a lift for the rest of the week.
“I also take part in Tai Chi, which has been good. It is a good form of exercise, not too strenuous. I also take part in the Wildlife Session. I love wildlife, animals and nature. Before now, I hadn’t come across a support group where people shared my passion and were able to dedicate their time to discuss and share. I enjoy sharing, learning and seeing people smile – it helps me smile myself and really picks me up.
“As I mentioned, I am an organised person. Having a structure for the week really helps when I am not working. I am able to attend most things and I enjoy the structure and focus. I love the team, and have built up a good relationship with them. I have made different friends of different ages and different backgrounds, and I have broadened these friendships through our common interests. You know you can have secure conversations with people in the groups, and that I can trust them.
“The final session I take part in during the week is ‘Positivity Hour’, which is my favourite of the whole week because even if you have had a rubbish week you can make it positive. It is great to feel good for the weekend, even if you have been feeling down – I find reflection on what we are thankful for so useful, even if you have a really bad week you can always find something you are thankful for in life.”