How Lyn overcame her own problems to become an inspiration to others

DSC_0085Eighteen months ago Lyn Bailey was shy, lacking in confidence and struggling to make ends meet.

But now, thanks to help from a Doncaster-based community support group, the married mum of four has turned her life round to the point that she’s now helping others overcome the same social problems she used to have.

She now travels around the borough as a volunteer, teaching crochet and knitting to community groups as part of two year peer support training project run by the Intake-based People Focussed Group (PFG) and paid for by NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group and Doncaster Council.

Desperation brought Lyn, 46, from Highfields, to the PFG’s Wellness Centre, where she joined a peer support group that helped build up her self-confidence and inspire her to help others.

Coping with a sight and hearing disability and looking after a son who has autism, brought Lyn to the end of her tether. She said: “I couldn’t pay the bills and was relying on hand-outs and food banks. I felt like the world was against me and went to PFG because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. They helped me sort out all my problems.

“I’m a far cry from the introverted person I used to be. I now volunteer up to seven days a week and enjoy passing on my craft skills to others. I couldn’t have dreamed about doing that just 18 months ago.”

Kelly Hicks, PFG’s project manager, said: “Our role is to teach groups and organisations how to provide peer support, which is really showing people how to help others who feel they have no hope.

“Lyn is a tremendous success story. She has developed great problem solving skills and become more outgoing to the point that she is now able to teach others.

“Local communities used to look after each other through their own informal social services system. Sadly, we have lost some of that spirit over the years but we’re helping to bring it back.”

Roy Barnes, from Doncaster Council, said: “The project is aiming to tackle the social isolation and feelings of exclusion that people with emotional well-being and mental health problems often experience”.

Many PFG trainers have experience of working with mental health issues or have used services themselves, added Andrea Butcher from the CCG. ” They have a wide range of skills they can call on to help people become more motivated and self-confident so they can manage their life better.”

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