Life was really challenging and Gemma was in the middle of a difficult relationship break up at the time when Red Hen became involved. The relationship had ended and Gemma’s partner was causing a lot of issues at the family home.
Gemma had never heard of Red Hen but a parent at a group she went to mentioned the charity and suggested she got in touch. After speaking to a family worker over the phone Theresa started to offer support to Gemma.
Gemma was really struggling with the challenges of becoming a single parent, parenting the children, financial stress, and dealing with a difficult ex-partner. Gemma had also been referred to Social Care after admitting, at another group she attended, that she smacked her children.
Gemma says that on her first visit Theresa made her feel comfortable and listened to. “The children really liked her and she had lots of time for them”.
‘Theresa gave really good advice. She was calm and helped show me things I could do to stay more in control at home. She helped me see where I was in the wrong as well as what I was good at.’
She says that she trusted Theresa as she didn’t judge her – she ‘corrected and advised but I knew I could be honest’.
Since accepting 1:1 support from Red Hen, Gemma has attended a Raising Children course and achieved a certificate by completing all 8 weeks. She says that attending the course has made her ‘much more positive about being a parent’ and she now looks forward to spending time with the children. She says that ‘hearing other parents talk about their stories has really helped her realise she’s not the only one’. Learning strategies to support the children and her own emotions and responses has been really positive.
Gemma has also started attending a Red Hen group called Wellbeing Wednesdays, where she takes part in exercise and meditation for her physical and mental health. She loves going along and looks forward to being busy each week.
‘Before, I was sad and depressed – I didn’t have any energy for me or the kids. Now I feel much more positive and happy – I put the music on and I dance and the kids join in. I have energy to go to the park and shops and not just come home and put kids in front of the tv and do jobs – I used to be stuck – really negative.’
Gemma would say to anyone who isn’t sure about working with a member of the Red Hen Team that they really should accept the support as it’s helped her so much:
‘They are great people to work with, a lovely team. Calm and relaxing and I don’t feel rushed to sort things out. I’ve had support in the past but I didn’t feel listened to and that I only had a short amount of time to sort things out.’
Gemma is now registered to volunteer with Red Hen and also wants to look into how she can build up her experience working with families so she can give support to others in similar situations as hers. She knows that when things get too much she can contact the project and speak to any of the team as she’s met so many of them now.
Gemma looks at her situation now and says ‘I wouldn’t have thought I would feel so positive in such a short amount of time.’