Stories

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When A came to GISDA in February it was identified for having problems managing her anger. A felt she lost her temper quite a lot, taking it out on those around her and feeling she couldn’t express herself. This resulted in depression and very low moods, sometimes suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Using the Occupational Therapy Kawa River Model it was identified that A had a number of issues including anxiety problems. A began Anger Management sessions, working 1:! For ta number of weeks until A felt comfortable enough to attend group meetings. As part of the sessions A had to fill in a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the sessions, A completed her questionnaire and A felt she had discovered a few more ways of coping with her anger in a more healthy and healthy way.

We are currently woking on imporving ways of communication and is completing asseruvebess

I joined GISDA at the age of twenty, after realizing that my relationship between me and my family had deteriorated and we were rarely talking. The times we did talk felt like I was being told what to do, or being blamed for anything they could think of.

My father wasn’t a communicative guy; we spent most nights in different rooms for as long as possible and rarely ever exchanged words.

After contacting GISDA I had a meeting with the Referrals Officer from the GISDA office in Caernarfon. She told me about how GISDA helps young people to become more independent, and the support that they give.

Within 2-3 months I was told that they had a place for me in their hostel in Blaenau, and I could move in within a month. I was also given a key worker, who was there to help me with any issues or problems I might have before or after moving.

They key worker helped me prepare to move and helped me to inform the different agencies of my new address. The key worker also showed me how to fill in a housing application form correctly.

GISDA were very helpful in supporting me to become more independent, and the flat I moved into was spacious and easy to maintain. They showed me how to top-up my gas and electricity, and where to pay the water rates, which are quite reasonable. I was given help in improving my skills in cooking and was supported with access to training courses and they also helped to boost my confidence.

The first week I moved in to the hostel was rather nice. It was very easy to get used to the new surroundings and easy to keep track of the gas and electricity usage.

As I had been in Blaenau Ffestiniog before, a few years ago to see a few friends, I knew quite a lot of people here. They were all still as friendly as I remember. And making new friends was relatively easy.

I enjoyed the move and enjoy my new life in Blaenau, and having the chance to learn new skills and improve the ones I already had.

I would recommend GISDA’s services to any young person who needs their help.

Anthony

Before I turned to GISDA I was in a very bad place, and couldn’t escape from domestic abuse. I was suffering with severe depression, agoraphobia and social anxiety and I couldn’t see a way forward.

I have been receiving GISDA’s support for a few months, and have taken part in many activities. Slowly, I am finding it easier to talk to strangers. I’m also looking at ways to develop myself and feel much happier and confident when looking to the future.

To me, GISDA has been a life saver and has given me another chance to enjoy life. Working with the staff has greatly helped me to restore some of the damage that was caused at different times in my life, and has given me the hope and confidence that I needed to move on.

I feel that this charity deserves every ounce of support as possible, as a token of my appreciation for the overwhelming support that I received.

“I am 18 years of age and up until six months ago felt that nothing was going right in my life. Massive explosive arguments at home resulted in me being threatened to be kicked out and made it seem like the end of the world at the time. My college work was suffering as I struggled to keep myself together, friendships were under strain and I lashed out at the people that cared about me by pushing them away.
One of the tutors put me in touch with GISDA. I was nervous, scared, and even a bit ashamed about admitting that I needed help. A part of me didn’t want to, but I knew I had nothing to lose. I had no idea how the future would plan out but I started to feel positive. I was asked if I would like to be put in touch with GISDA’s counsellor. I was anxious, but had figured out the more that I spoke about what I felt and what I was experiencing, the better I felt.
As I was in danger of becoming homeless GISDA explained my options and assisted me in applying for accommodation. They had a member of staff on call 24 hours if I needed housing in an emergency..
GISDA boosted my confidence by making everything that seemed impossible, possible. I had someone to turn to, at a time when I felt that there was no one, someone was listening and understanding and I felt happier in myself. My grades in college also improved and finally something that I never thought would happen, did. I was accepted on a degree course. My key worker was as exited as I was and we started looking at financial help and support that was on offer to me.
Now I am three weeks away from my move to college and have managed to get most of what I need. It feels amazing owning my own things and being independent.
I am so glad that I made the decision to get in touch with GISDA and ask for help because I don’t think I would have had the confidence or the right to support to finally move to college. GISDA has given me all the right tools to progress with my dreams from supporting me emotionally, boosting my confidence and helping with little important, but sometimes difficult things, such as filling forms, helping with financial support, and so on. As a result life at home has got better, my attitude has improved which had had a knock on effect on my parents, making life easier and now I don’t dread going home.
Right now I feel that everything is going well and I can’t thank GISDA enough for being there. GISDA is an amazing charity supporting people in difficulty day in day out, and I always know that if I ever need anyone to talk to or a little help that they will always be there.”

“I am 20 years old and left school without any qualifications. I had several jobs but felt I was being taken advantage of by employers because of my young age. I started to offend and ended up with a tag. I began drifting from sofa to sofa and decided to contact GISDA.
I lived in the hostel for nine months. It was very difficult at first, sharing with seven other people. During my stay I’ve:-

• Learnt to cook
• Looked after my room
• Done voluntary work for 12 weeks
• Taken part in art exhibition
• Made a DVD of my life with SBARC
• Helped renovate the garden in the hostel
• Achieved 6 credits with Pave the Way
• Obtained CSVS card
• Achieved a Diploma in Public service (merit)

Now I:
• Have my own flat
• I am on an ECDL course
• Have attended peer mentoring meetings
• Given interviews for both radio and television programmes on matters affecting young people.

In the future:
• Benefit restrictions prevent me from furthering my education
• I would like to develop the Peer Mentoring scheme

Without GISDA I don’t know what would have happened to me”

Lisa was 16 years old when she came to Gisda for help. She had left school and Lisa said “I was in quite a bit of trouble at the time”. Her friend told her about Gisda’s services and she decided to come to Gisda for help.

Gisda gave her a home in the hostel in Caernarfon and she got plenty of help from her key workers at the time. Lisa got emotional help; they helped to raise her confidence as well as helping her with budgeting and living skills.

Two years later aged 19, she joined the army and she has had a successful career ever since. She is with the artillery regiment, based in England, at the moment and has recently served in Afghanistan.
Lisa said: “Before I came to Gisda I was travelling along the wrong path. Gisda helped me to get back on my feet, find work and to live independently. They were always there if I needed their help and they put up with a lot! I am grateful to them for everything and I don’t know where I would be now if it wasn’t for their help.”

Before I received support from GISDA, I was living at my parents’ house but there wasn’t enough room for me and my 2 year old child. I had no option but to move out – I had no idea where to go for help and support, to ensure that we both had a roof above our heads.

Since getting the support from GISDA, I have found a home for me and my child that is close to my family. I have a Key Worker that supports me when a problem arises, and who has put me in contact with different agencies that can advise me further. I’m under less stress, as I know that the support is there for me at any time.

Without GISDA I’m not sure what my situation would be by now. I am so lucky, and glad, that my Key Worker is there for me, and only a phone call away.

Before I received support from GISDA, I was living at my parents’ house but there wasn’t enough room for me and my 2 year old child. I had no option but to move out – I had no idea where to go for help and support, to ensure that we both had a roof above our heads.

Since getting the support from GISDA, I have found a home for me and my child that is close to my family. I have a key worker that support me when a problem arises, and who has put me in contact with different agencies that can advise me further. I’m under less stress, as I now that the support is there for me at any time.

Without GISDA I’m not sure what my situation would be by now. I am so lucky and glad, that my key worker is there for me and only a phone call away.

“When I was 15 years old I came to Gisda for help. My parents had emigrated to Tenerife and I decided to stay in Caernarfon to complete my GCSE exams. I lived in my older brother’s house and I was grateful that my parents saw me as responsible enough to take care of myself at such a young age.

 

There were disagreements at home and this became a little overwhelming for me. I eventually decided that I couldn’t stay any longer and left my brother’s house. It wasn’t long before Mair at GISDA helped me by offering me a home at Hafan, the charity hostel. ‘Sofa surfing’ wasn’t a good way for me to live, especially since I was studying for my GCSE’s.
Well, that’s what I call a lifestyle change! But, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Being a teenager with responsibility was difficult at first. Since I was still at school I wasn’t entitled to any income support, or any other benefits. I spent several hours a week at the benefits office trying to get some help but instead, my experience was that people in positions of power could be stubborn and cruel.
However, that didn’t stop Mair and the GISDA team from helping me; I lived for the first few weeks at GISDA rent free because the bureaucrats had decided they couldn’t help me with rent or income support. Mair occasionally offered me odd jobs at the GISDA house, painting doors and rooms, mowing the lawn etc. Juggling benefit officer interviews and GCSE exams didn’t come without a price however and my GCSE grades dropped from mock results of A’s to final results of B’s and C’s.
Many stereotypes are applied to young people that are homeless, I can assure you that none of them apply to the people I met at GISDA. They all had their story to tell. Some had lived a very difficult life, parried from one pillar to the next. The final pillar was usually GISDA, the pillar that nearly always gave them stability and a sense of self-esteem.
Not long after that, with Gisda’s support, I decided I was going to continue my studies and went back to school to do A-levels. During my A-levels the team at GISDA had arranged for an RAF liaison officer to visit me for a chat. This was the start of a successful chapter in my life. As soon as this officer knew that I had achieved 10 GCSE’s he quickly took the forms out of his briefcase and helped me on my way to RAF Basic training in Halton.
From here I went on to qualify as a RAF Aircraft Electrical Technician. Today, I work as a civilian Aircraft Technician, maintaining Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters at RAF Valley. I live with my partner and our three children on Angelsey. Without the support and tenacity of GISDA I have no idea where I’d be today and what I’d be doing. For this I will always be extremely grateful to GISDA and in particular to Mair for helping me to change my life for the better and for this I thank-you.”
Gisda is the only local charity that offers a fully supported service to young people, like Paul, throughout Gwynedd. They are now in their 27th year, are still supporting young people to live independent and fulfilled lives, and their service is as much in demand today as it has always been.

Sara was 19 when she approached Gisda. Originally from Talysarn, she was living in Caernarfon at the time. She knew about Gisda’s services because she knew Simon Glyn who worked at Gisda at the time.
Sara moved into the hostel in Caernarfon for a few months and she enjoyed living there and made many new friends. She was feeling positive for the future since moving into the hostel.
When her job came to an end, the staff at Gisda helped her to claim benefits and also to find a house. Because of this help Sara became more self-confident and this helped her to find a new job.
Sara has now worked for four years as an optician’s receptionist and she thoroughly enjoys her work.
Sara said “I think that Gisda is an amazing charity. I was extremely grateful that Gisda was there to help me at the time and that their services are still there to help young people today”

Hi, my name is Stephanie Fretwell, I am 17 years old, and GISDA has been part of my life for almost two years. I came across GISDA when a family matter came to light, and my mum needed to move away. I had moved around a lot as a child and felt like I had finally found a place I fitted into. At this point I was settled at school and in the middle of my GCSE’s . it was a hard decision but my mum and I felt it was best that I stayed with some friends to finish my last school year. It didn’t work out so I made my way to GISDA and they offered help and a temporary place in the hostel. I worked to settle in, and also struggled at times but GISDA, family and friends helped me. With the help of GISDA, my boyfriend Osian and my family, I stayed in school and passed all of my GCSE’s, I also made it to my prom. I have moved on to the Fron Fawr flats after proving I’m able to look after myself. I am now in college in Bangor studying Art and Design, and hoping to become a teacher. I’m waiting for a flat of my own and learning new things about myself and life. I owe many thanks to GISDA for all their help and the help that they continue to give. It will be hard to move on from GISDA but I am now confident of doing so, due to the new skills I have learnt.

T was referred to GISDA from Social Services in January 2015, as he was unable to live at home with his mother for a number of reasons. When T moved into Hafan he was smoking cannabis daily and misusing substances. He decided with this support of his key worker and the staff at Hafan to change his life and put an end to drugs and began to think about his future and his career.

T is very popular in the hostel and very friendly, he enjoyed taking part in activities and cooking session in particular. Over the months his confidence and skills has improved and we believe he is ready to move on to live independently.

At the moment we are supporting T with his career path, and the Army has a big appeal. He’s been looking at the websites and visited the Army office in Bangor and hopefully starting on his training after Christmas.

T said

“The support from my Key Worker has been a lot of help, I have gained confidence. I feel happy as a result of receiving the support I need and I’m comfortable with what I have planned for the future”.

GISDA
Before I got to Hafan life was pretty bad
Spendin’ nights on people’s couches was getting’ me quite sad

Sleepin on the settee is better than the street
But it gets so effin stressful when you cannot stretch your feet

It got so close to Christmas I wasn’t feelin it at all
All I really wanted was my own four walls

Now that I’m at Hafan life is runnin quite smooth
Cos now I’ve nicely settled in my own private room

So here’s a little thank-you and I mean it from the heart
Thank-you all so very much for a fresh clean start

Ben

GISDA
I came to GISDA, wanted help
A place to stay out of the cold
I needed guidance to get things right
No more heartache or a fight

I used to be on my own
Which made me feel very down
But now I’ve made good friends near
They help me out, no fear

Now I feel that I belong
No more tears on my own
For now I’m happy and thankful
GISDA to me is beautiful
Better than what I thought.

Elvira

Understanding and helpful
Just being there
When I felt that no-one
Really did care
Meeting new people
Making new friends
On GISDA I feel
That I can depend
Self-worth and confidence
Now I have plenty
This is what GISDA
Has given to me.
Ffion

 

 

 

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