SOAR's Wellbeing Coaches engage with local people who require practical support to improve their health & wellbeing and change their behaviour to achieve their goals. The Wellbeing Coaches offer support and encouragement, mostly on a 1-1 basis but they also run group activities and identify other local groups. Read on to hear S's story, and how they're now a volunteer for SOAR!
S was referred by their GP as they were struggling with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. S wasn't in a healthy routine and wasn't effectively managing their diabetes. They used to enjoy swimming and walking, and was looking forward to restarting these activities when they could overcome feelings of panic when leaving the house.
Julie, one of our Wellbeing Coaches, spoke to S on the phone until they had the confidence to meet in their car. They were very nervous, having a panic attack, but happy to roll the car window down and discuss possible support options. A few appointments were set up to meet, at a pace that S could cope with. Julie worked with S to come up with a plan and goals to work towards, plus the time to talk about their anxieties and overcoming them.
S attended weekly walks with SOAR's Wellbeing Team; completed an 8-week pilates course with This Girl Can; attends weekly tai chi sessions at Parson Cross Forum; attended Live Lighter's 12-week weight management programme; volunteers at local allotments helping others; and attends SOAR's monthly Menopause Cafe.
S now has a full timetable of activities every day of the week, which they attend as well as encourage others to participate and settle in:
Monday - badminton, 1-1 gym with SWFCCP
Tuesday - tai chi, SOAR mindfulness pocket gardens
Wednesday - allotments, Wellbeing Wednesday, SWFCCP Fit Fans
Thursday - tai chi, gym, badminton
Friday - volunteer at SOAR's social cafe, walking group
S has now become a volunteer with SOAR, and would like to return to work. They are talking about the kind of job they would be interested in. S has gone from strength to strength, their confidence has improved, and they are doing amazingly in supporting others and feeling positive about the future.
Julie says: "It is amazing to see how far S has come in such a short time and to be able to work jointly with local organisations. S said they had too much time on their hands and needed something to do to help with health & wellbeing, they certainly have achieved this. Very proud to see S now volunteering with us and can’t wait to see where it leads."
S says: "I was given support in a neutral non-threatening environment, at first so I could get to know the Wellbeing Coach, then I was supported to find out different activities that were going on. I was supported on a 1-1 basis, being encouraged all the time and being told my anxiety was not weak or stupid and I was worth being given the time and effort. I have Hidradenitis suppurativa (a chronic skin disease, exacerbated by stress), and previously I was going into hospital for surgery every 5/6 weeks. Since I have started the activities and controlling my anxiety better I haven’t needed any surgery. My journey is ongoing but I now know I can do this with their support."