Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well.
I’m emailing to tell you that I got the position from the job I interviewed for a couple of weeks ago! They want me to start tomorrow so I need to sign off of my volunteering with K@M4E.
Thank you very much for working with me for the past 8 months, the confidence and experience I gained working with you all has been invaluable to me and I don’t think I would have got that job if I didn’t have the experience from being here.
Thank You –
Volunteer March 2020
“I was scared and felt very anxious to come here as I have lived in this area all my life knowing this place for all sorts of evil for many years. I must say I am amazed by what goes on here now and will ensure everyone knows what a great environment it is here.” Local resident March 2020
“Can I just say a huge thank you for making us feel so welcome in the work we do at MadeForever, you are doing such a great job in the local community and are making a real difference” – SGCCommunity Learning March 2020
“This is exactly what this community needs, warm loving feel free environment, variety of activities, something for everyone, bringing everyone together, sharing ideas, it just makes you feel part of something good. I wonder why no one thought of this several years ago.” – Local resident March 2020
I found out about Kingsmeadow’s support services via a flyer on notice board outside ‘Wilkinson’s’ at Kings Chase shopping Centre. It gave an outline of services available with the contact no. to Kingsmedow @ MadeForever. I was very desperate and thought to just try.
From the first contact I was greeted by a friendly supportive staff who enlightened me on the services that were available. At the time of contact I was in very low mood, felt suicidal, situational depression, high anxiety, PTSD, isolated, lonely, disengaged and pointless in any activity even with GP services. I had totally reached rock-bottom and in desperate need but felt constantly rebutted hitting that brick wall as when I had previously asked for help, I was directed onto services that were of limited help.
I had really low days then and sometimes couldn’t even leave my house. Kingsmeadow kindly offered to do the initial assessment at my home. It gave me relief that counselling would be available, although there was a short waiting list, I was given other support from the moment of my assessment and this was a real life-line which helped boost my mood.
The Counselling helped me make sense of my thought process, release some of my internal chaos so I could work through and understand my cycle of how this paralysis was affecting/caused my distress. I learned how to gently respond to my thoughts and to be kind to myself. It helped lighten my mood and helped me engage with friends. The counselling I received has been instrumental in raising my spirit and encouraged me to change positively.
I was also encouraged and supported to sign-up to activities such Reflexology/Yoga which improved my chronic-fatigue along with muscle/joint pain. It felt like a miracle that I could go out and play lawn tennis which I had not done in several years. Prior to this standing was difficult for any length of time and felt I was just about keeping head above water.
I was also enrolled to do IT course which helped me a lot to have access to information on things I want to do with my life. Engagement in some of the other courses provided also helped in various ways.
This service has been instrumental and is truly a personal inclusive service where I have been treated with dignity as a valued human being from first point of contact. Knowing where I was at the time of my first contact, I have to say this service is invaluable.
I still get some bad days but the Kingsmeadow team have helped me immensely for which I am so grateful, they have been core to my improvement.
Health is what we all strive for. Mental health is a key component that makes us whole and is part of being human. Mental Distress can be as catastrophic as Mental Illness. Distress is distress regardless and it should be remembered that there is a person in there needing help which if they don’t get can lead to severe mental illness. If such support is not available within the NHS then the community is the ideal place. The availability of a support service like what Kingsmeadow @ MadeForever provides is crucial to people like myself.
HJ March 2020
When I arrived at Kingsmeadow @ MadeForever, I was in a bad way. I couldn’t see any way out, I had no energy and no hope for the future.
What I needed was to talk freely with someone who wouldn’t judge me or the people I talked about and that is what I got. I felt comfortable just saying it as it was and I was able to talk through and around the problems I had. Talking about situations that had just happened and working out how to handle similar times in the future.
I learnt how to live within my dysfunctional family, choosing what behaviour to accept and what to address. I also learnt to be kind to myself, not to be hard on myself if I made a mistake and making “me time” to recharge my batteries.
I know this is working because I am a creative person and thought I had lost my ability but the ideas have started to come back and I am planning projects to do.
I am now hopeful for the future, I know it won’t always be easy but I have the strategies I have learnt to help me and I know there is support if I need it.
Mental Health is just as important as Physical Health. I think there is more of a need for this service than ever before.
A Carer for 2 family members March 2020
Dear Barbara and Team,
I would just like to inform you as to my appreciation for all your hard work helping my son. He was a very desperate man bringing up his daughter on his own, suffering from severe depression and anxiety.
Getting himself into debt, not knowing what benefits he was in titled to. You helped him and put him on the right path. You’ve helped by filling forms with him, emergency utilities vouchers when in the snowy bad weather he had no heating. School clothing grant.You welcome us every time with a smile and an offer of warm drink. With Kingsmeadow @ Madeforever being a drop in centre, it’s comforting knowing that you and the team are always there. It’s an amazing place with a children’s play scheme during each school holidays.
All you guys are non -judgmental, showing empathy, on every visit.
Without kingsmeadow, us and many others would be struggling without the knowledge and information you have many times provided.
Regards DH March 2020
I am a carer for my husband who had a stroke 17 years ago, which left him hemiplegia and aphasia also some challenging behavior issues. I have health problems myself including arthritis, which can be very painful.
I was finding it very hard to cope, became depressed, very weepy and isolated. I asked for help from the Carers Support Centre and was referred to Kingsmeadow @ MadeForever.
I met my counsellor at Kingsmeadow who was very kind, gentle and listened to me. I felt she really understood how I felt (I also had many issues from my childhood/past).
My counselor made me realize that I am my own person and do not have to be affected by others and things from my past. She encouraged me to gently take time to explore my thoughts/emotions, understand them and gently respond rather just be ruled by them. I learned to be calm, determined, care for myself and to change the way I reacted in difficult situations. (I used to cry a lot). I gradually put the things she taught me into practice. I am now feeling much better and more able to cope when things go wrong. I have enrolled in different wellbeing activities and courses to develop myself more. I feeling happier and want to do more with my life. I am very appreciative for the help I received and that is was available to me. March 2020
I found out about Kingsmeadowmade4ever when I enrolled for the Fibromyalgia Support Group.
I had been diagnosed about 6 months earlier and together with a ME/CFS diagnosis was struggling to manage both.
I thought that there were no support groups locally.
My mental health had deteriorated. I had been on long term sickness leave and was becoming more and more isolated.
How refreshing to find Kingsmeadowmade4ever. I was given a warm welcome and the support group was exactly what I needed. I was told that I could have support to claim benefits. This was essential for me.
As a result of the advice and support I received, I was awarded PIP. I was also supported to claim other benefits, ie Exemption from Prescriptions, which has been a huge financial help.
I liked everything about Kingsmeadowmade4ever, its friendly, warm and non-judgemental approach. The staff are really supportive and friendly. Its Vision is to serve the local community, offering services which people like me desperately need.
I have never felt so comfortable and valued, which is helping to build my confidence and self-esteem. As a result of this @I have recently started voluntary work a few hours one day a week.
Without this service I would have become more anxious, depressed, lonely and socially isolated. I would therefore like to thank them for their support and encouragement. They are truly an A Team. 11th October 2018
Finding the support through Kingsmeadow was a huge relief after struggling to find any help beginning to feel that any chance of understanding how to deal with my feelings was never going to happen.
I was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with my every day life, family and work.
Dealing with stress and anxiety including sleep problems was making me feel desperate.
By having someone to talk to and explain how I was feeling and getting positive answers and support made me feel that there is a way to get my life back to a normal.
I was looking for a quick fix but thanks to Catherine I now understand that because my negative feelings have been building up over many years of my life. I will have to work through this and gain the confidence to deal with how I need to change my thinking, beliefs and actions to move forward.
At times, I did feel that I couldn’t make these changes and without this on going support I feel that I wouldn’t have be able to achieve this. The significant progress I have made with this support has hugely improved my mental and general wellbeing. I am much better at dealing with negative thoughts rather than letting them control my life. I have actually become more positive which is making my life happier. I know I still have progress to make in some areas however I am grateful for how far I have come and I now believe in enjoying life again rather than give up.
It is crucial that this support is available and that you are not just allowed so many sessions and then left to cope alone.
Without this important service in our community there would be nothing!!!!!
If only I had found it sooner and then it was only luck that I did.
This is a great service and I cannot thank the charity and Catherine enough. GH – August 2017
Catherine a precious lady quintessential with calmness she helped me fight my demons and self-mindedness taught me inner mindedness and listened to my misgivings and hurtful misdemeanours.
I now have an outtake of love for myself and feel no remorsefulness or regrets of how I partake in life, have found my pinnacle in life an ambience of tranquillity and hope for the future.
I am in a better place feeling better with myself.
Thank you Catherine !
GC – January 2017
I started coming here in February 2016, and feel I have benefited greatly from using this service by becoming employed.
Catherine and the volunteers gave me complete advice on how to fill in online applications and build my confidence. I feel considerably more confident at online applications and feel more improved and confident regarding these. If it wasn’t for this service I wouldn’t be where I am now. I am feeling more positive and words can’t explain the help that I have had. I now feel more focused and certain about the future ahead, and that has to do with the help and support I have had from Catherine and the volunteers at Kingsmeadow Community Flat.
I have now secured employment with Catherine very kindly helping to provide a reference, with a nearby residential care home. Many thanks to all.
Valerie Blick – January 2017
I was in a very bad place when I first accessed KCF’s support services. I wasn’t coping at all with so much challenges in my life, multiple complex issues to deal with and I wasn’t getting the help by all the local services I approached. I had given up really and just didn’t know what to do. I had just been told by the doctor that I might have cancer, I had no income, was in debt, no support, emotionally down, frustrated, confused and lost. The doctors and other health professionals said I was depressed but I did not think I was. However, I knew I was in a dark place and felt very low due to all my challenges and not having anyone to turn to for support. I felt very lonely and isolated.
The support services from KCF changed my life and gave me hope again. The team at KCF worked whole heartedly proving me a combination of emotional and practical support with a variety of challenges I had given up hope on. I can now say I am beginning to enjoy life again. I have just been diagnosed with cancer and though they say it might be too late, I am grateful with my life. I am moving on. I am thinking about volunteering and doing as much as I can to give back.
Before I will go for days without a shower but I now have shower up to three times some days.
Before I will struggle to go out and isolate myself for days and weeks not opening the door to anyone who comes around but now I go out and get on with my daily activities and enjoy doing so.
I cannot thank the team at Kingsmeadow Community Flat enough for the support they have given me. I cannot even imagine what could have possibly happened to me if I did not access this service. I was able to build enough confidence and hope to take my driving test again after I had given up hope when my licence was taken away due to my health conditions. I now have my licence back and can drive again rather than being dependant on others.
I can go and on and on….. I just want to say I am very grateful to the team. Their dedication to help people is unbelievable and I think everyone should know about this place.
Anonymous – January 2017
For over ten years I have been actively supporting people into employment and helping to overcome barriers they may have. In all my time of this work I have never engaged with a community service that really makes a difference to people and how they perceive themselves, until now. Since working in the Kingswood area and building partnerships with organisations, I am really impressed with the work that Kingsmeadow do for the residents they engage with. Those that engage really do progress.
I have actively referred my own customers to Catherine for emotional support as I know each of them will be helped and supported appropriately and effectively. Those that have been referred have overcome a variety of issues that were impacting on them greatly, and in turn built on their confidence as a result. The service is a valuable one and much needed in the community, customers report back how great Catherine is at providing emotional support.
“ from my first meeting with Catherine I feel like I have focus and know issues with my mental health will be addressed. I feel I can move forward. I am overwhelmed with the support Catherine gave and how lovely she is.” GC
Bernice Britton –
Social and Economic Engagement Officer (Kingswood) – September 2016
The “Your Support Services” of Kingsmeadow Community Flat has been exceptionally useful especially around essential practical support to service users and sorting out welfare benefits which now seems a minefield for many people including service users and professionals.
I found that this service fills the gaps of many other services as the commitment of the team is unique. I was particularly impressed about the options to visit people in their own home and take them to appointments if necessary and the sincere committed involvement in the whole process by the KCF team. This helps in building a trusting relationship especially for some of the service users I have referred to the service who have severe learning difficulties.
Your service is very approachable and readily available to provide updates or representative during review meetings to inform the assessment, care and support planning process for service users and their family.
I most certainly commend the support services of KCF and have also notified my colleagues about your services and the quality of support you can offer.
Samuel N –
Social Worker, SGC Social Services – September 2916
For nearly four years now, I have tapped into the support services offered by Kingsmeadow Community Flat and in particular Catherine Sama’s counselling and support services via KCF.
Catherine has been my “go-to” for various customers and acts as one of my leading services which I use to signpost customers to, in their hour of need. Catherine has assisted so many customers who have required specialist, emotional support and advice to overcome barriers, including: low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, stress, OCD, addiction issues and substance misuse, self-harm, eating disorders and the list continues. Catherine has committed herself to each individual, always building trust and a strong, professional relationship with all, whilst being relentless in providing support and empowerment which they require, so badly, to be able to move forward.
Following on from customers meeting and working with Catherine, I have gained exceptional feedback from customers regarding KCF and the service which Catherine provides, which only further strengthens my confidence in continuing to refer vulnerable customers to Catherine. I have noticed a marked difference in all of the customers who have received Catherine’s support, a lot have gained not just confidence and motivation but have also overcome barriers which they never thought they would ever overcome.
I hope that Catherine continues to be a person, I can turn to, to assist customers in improving their lives and prospects, as she has been invaluable to both me and my customers, too and long may it continue!!!
Lucinda Clayton –
City of Bristol College – August 2016
TESTIMONIAL OF EMOTIONAL SUPPORT AT KINGSMEADOW COMMUNITY FLAT
It’s not nice when a battle to save a marriage fails and your world starts to fall apart. I felt uncertain, isolated, anxious and angry and I really needed an outlet for my feelings and some direction. I was really pleased to be put in touch with the Kingsmeadow Flat Counselling Service. I didn’t know what they could do, but Catherine listened.
She understood. She looked after my needs by getting me to recognise what my immediate needs actually are. She encouraged me to divert my wasted energy from worries I can’t control and use them to trigger an action I can take that makes me feel better. I was amazed that she did this seamlessly. It seemed so natural. I was also surprised that that I could do it!
Although my problems remain, my new awareness of having some control puts me in a better position to survive the hard days ahead, one at a time. Thank you for making this possible. The Kingsmeadow Counselling Service deserves support to expand for the greater wellbeing of members of our local community and the stronger community that would result. I hope this message about my experience will help in that objective.
RL – May 2016
What can I say about Kingsmeadow Community Flat apart from encouraging, motivational, supportive and help to build my confidence in a positive way?
I had been unemployed for just under four years when my Work Coach at Kingswood Job Centre mentioned that a local charity was looking for a volunteer to help out with their administration. I want to do office work as a career and they are based in the local Kingswood area where I live, so I decided to give it a go.
I was a bit anxious and nervous thinking people would judge me because I was unemployed. However, I need not have worried, everyone was so welcoming and no-one was judgmental in any way. In fact the first thing that I will always remember is that Catherine (the Head Support Worker) gave me a hug. Marisa (a member of the Support Team and work colleague) was also extremely friendly. She is also a volunteer looking for work; I felt that she totally understood how I felt.
I benefited from volunteering at Kingsmeadow by not only enabling me to keep my office skills fresh but also having the added support such as assistance with job searching and re-working my CV so it looked professional and more straightforward for an employer to read. Any interviews that arose, Catherine and Marisa were always there to give me guidance and support in preparation.
Recently I attended an interview at a local Solicitor’s for the position of Receptionist. I talked about the kind of duties I undertook at Kingsmeadow and how I met a diverse group of people wanting employment or emotional support. The employer must have been impressed as I was offered the role straight away.
I can’t thank Kingsmeadow Community Flat enough for what they did during my time with them (August-December 2014). Even now I am employed, support is on offer if I need it.
So if you are offered a meeting with them and you have doubts then don’t worry, the team at Kingsmeadow Community Flat will understand and above all listen. Sarah – May 2015
My nephew Steven is unemployed and on Jobseekers Allowance with the Kingswood Job Centre. Recent developments in searching for jobs requires the use of their Universal Jobmatch website. My nephew was computer illiterate and has no computer equipment. I, a basic user of computers, offered to help him. I was soon to discover that the website was very complex and beyond my capabilities! The Jobcentre staff recommended that Steven should seek lessons and recommended Catherine Sama at the Kingsmeadow Community Flat. I volunteered to go with Steven to learn how to use the Universal Jobmatch website. The outcome was a series of weekly lessons for Steven (which is is still continuing) and for me!
Our first exploratory visit to the flat was, for me at least, a very pleasant surprise both in terms of location, layout and the welcome from the staff. The premises were indeed a typical flat much the same as many other private properties on the estate. Located in a very pleasant area, access for an 82 year old was a bit of a challenge as it required about a 200 metre walk, with incline or steps, to reach the flat from the car park. However, by way of compensation, the welcome we received from the staff on arrival in the Reception room was genuine, warm and was supplemented with a cup of tea of coffee!
A quick perusal of the displays in Reception, and answers to my questions by the staff, provided me with a summary of the services provided to the community by the Flat, and impressive they were. It is not difficult to realise that such services could not be offered without a dedicated and committed staff. Subsequent attendances at the Flat were to confirm this view.
During this first visit, a vivacious and charismatic Catherine determined our needs and arranged for both Steve and myself to undertake a series of “one-to-one” periods of computer instruction from 10:30 – 11:30 on Fridays. The arrangements and learning objectives to be achieved were carried out in a thoroughly professional manner and we came away knowing exactly what to expect.
During the actual course Melisa was Steve’s tutor and Catherine was mine. We were welcomed warmly on each occasion and “signed in”. Over a period of four weeks Catherine had a teaching plan and clearly stated what she hoped to achieve with me at each session. A gracious and warm personality, well prepared and decisive in her presentation and requirements, Catherine Sama is an excellent teacher. I enjoyed each session enormously and over the four weeks I gained a working knowledge of how to use the Universal Jobmatch website to apply for jobs and how the system operated.
It is with pleasure and no hesitation that I commend the services of Catherine Same and the Kingsmeadow Community Flat to anyone in need of them.
Richard C Hallworth – 19th November 2014
I would like to thank Kingsmeadow Community Flat for giving me an opportunity to volunteer. The staff are very welcoming and helpful and I was feeling like part of a team in no time. I worked as an IT Support for the community. I didn’t have the confidence because I had never taught anyone before and was not sure if I would manage. The project manager assured me I would be ok. She went through what was required of me. The day I had my first client she came and asked if I was ok. I got satisfaction from helping others in the community and after the first feedback from my first client saying how happy he was with the services offered and how the skills he gained from me would help him, I had a big smile that day and said to myself I must have done something right. This job gave me people skills. I got an interview and when I mentioned what I was doing at Kingsmeadow I believe this played a part in my job offer. Thank you again to the staff at Kingsmeadow community and I would come back again to volunteer.
Patricia Clark – 30th November 2014
Congratulations on a well planned successful activities week in October. The community spirit at the flat was apparent and inspiring.
When I think of Kingsmeadow I’m always reminded of the parable of the five loaves and two fishes, it’s amazing what can be achieved with little resource and big faith!
We were blessed with fine weather for the topical scavenger hunt, a few autumn leaves swirling around, a bit quirky and great fun. On Tuesday the flat was full for the pumpkin carving. The children were patient and respectful of each others needs as they waited for an adult to get round to them and “top” their pumpkins, no squabbling, no “me me me”. I liked that.
Leaflet delivery day was a bit soggy! And I was worried about the weather for the afternoon sports and games, but its funny isn’t it how things turn around, (loaves and fishes again)! Because that was my most enjoyable afternoon. The games were held at the Community Hall (courtesy of Andy) Lexi’s impromptu dance class was great, as we’re the enthusiastic dance moves by a team member (you know who you are)! Great fun again.
Bulb planting on Clean up day, the children will see the results in Spring 2015, something positive and beautiful that they made happen.
These are amazing kids Jane they deserve somewhere like the flat to develop their social skills and just be the children they are, for a while. As you know I live in Yate and I have to say that there is no facility that gets close to what you are achieving at your Community Flat, and I have looked around!
I wish you success in your fundraising and forthcoming events. Respect and love.
Lorraine Smith (volunteer helper)
1st November 2014