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"Helped me grow and see myself in a new light" - Gavin's story

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Gavin, 42, from St Austell, was diagnosed with a rare, non-curative cancer of the brain and spine in 2019.

Gavin's mental health took a hit as he struggled to come to terms with his diagnosis. He became unemployed and wasn’t sure where to go next, so his recovery worker at We Are With You suggested he get in touch with the Positive People programme.

This is Gavin's story in his own words:

“I wasn’t sure what to do, there was nothing on the horizon for me and I was really struggling with the effects of the radiotherapy.

“The help I received from We Are With You was incredible and helped me get to a place where I could start thinking about my future again. I met Trudy (Positive People Change Coach at We Are With You) in February 2020 and she told me all about how the Positive People programme could help me get back on my feet.

“We worked together on an action plan and I told Trudy I was really interested in environmental work. She introduced me to a volunteer group that helps protect my local area and has helped me find training so that I can increase my experience and knowledge.

“During lockdown, Trudy and I spoke on the phone and via text and email regularly. At no point did I feel abandoned – she was always there for me.

“I also recently attended a free Positive People online confidence course (‘I Can’ Course) and it had a massive impact on me. I always thought I was quite a confident person and I probably wouldn’t need this course, but I actually got so much out of it.

“It ignited something in me, to challenge myself and to push myself out of my comfort zone. It gave me the drive to do something quite special for myself that I have wanted to do for years, which was to become a volunteer radio presenter. After the course (and with lots of encouragement from my Change Coach and my amazing wife), I got in touch with my local radio station and I am about to start presenter training. It’s something I definitely wouldn’t
have done before and I can’t wait!

“It sounds weird, but there have been so many good things that have come from my diagnosis. I have reconnected with friends that I haven’t spoken with for years and I have met some remarkable people. All the people I have met through We Are With You and Positive People have been so supportive and so knowledgeable. I feel part of a little family.

“They have helped me grow and see myself in a new light. They’ve helped bring out parts of me that have always been there but I was too afraid to reveal. I honestly feel like I’ve had an emotional MOT. It’s been absolutely the right thing for me.

“Everyone I have worked with has individually sparked something inside of me. That sort of thing can easily die and fade away, but with their support I’ve taken action to turn these sparks into something bigger”.

Positive People is funded by The European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

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