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I grew up in a life of trauma, neglect, and abandonment but I got through it as I promised myself that I would always stay strong.

In adulthood I started my own little family 1 girl and 4 boys sadly losing my 1st born son at 7 weeks.

The lack of support was a big test for me, but I stayed strong and pushed through. My children grew up and went out into the big wide world and I started to realise that I hadn’t created a life for myself but in some way I didn’t really mind that, I had always been a carer at heart. My plan was to help my children bring up their children, to be the best nanny I could be, give them all the nanny love I could give.

Unfortunately, with family relational breakdowns I lost out on seeing some of my grandchildren. I channeled my skills and life experiences into helping others in schools, the community, and individuals with complex needs. I got to a place where I started to question my worth, my purpose, I also realised I hadn’t much time left on this earth, but I have so many things I’d still like to do.

I hit rock bottom and had a break down, several, fighting each one with strength and resilience, and I got through it.

This time however it was different because I connected with Shepherd’s Star who introduced me to some very special people and together, they supported me whenever I needed supporting, they listened, showed interest in my life, gave empathy in what I was going through and showered me with love, boosting my confidence and self-esteem.

At the time of my introduction to Shepherd’s Star, at the ETNA Real Junk Food project, I was volunteering at the project collecting for Fareshare. They intercept food that would otherwise end up in landfill and distribute it to the community.

I was invited to the first Table of Hope that was being hosted at ETNA. The brilliant team at Shepherds Star and community family, arranged the most amazing meal and lovely day for all.

What I witnessed on that day, and continue to see from Shepherd’s Star, is how they give a non-judgmental approach, give everyone the needed time, and speak in a way that gives everyone, hope, strength and reassurance. This continues at every Table of Hope. I was embraced by this and was interested in all that was being offered, the Explore Programme was one programme.

I completed Explore and got the opportunity to join Kew Gardens Discover Horticulture Course meeting the brilliant Jane who has been one of the most encouraging and kind people in the community, inviting me to grow in myself and skill.

Every time I walk into the Kew allotment, I continue to have that same sense of freedom being able to de-stress, focus on a different experience in life, instead of the everyday mundane things I go through. At the allotment I get the opportunity to meet very caring and supportive people, you all know who you are, I call us the Kew Crew. I am now an official Kew community allotment volunteer; Shepherd’s star gave me that opportunity and I thank you all.

I also thank Shepherd’s star for making it possible for me to do the 7 Step Explore workshops run by the inspirational Susie, involving breathing exercises, instilling positive energy and belief in one’s mind body and soul, yoga and workshops with Richmond Furniture Scheme and C.A.B on budgeting.

I learnt how to create my own journal, giving me somewhere to write all my feelings in, so they don’t clog up your brain. I left every week feeling more confident in my worth and being.

I also had the opportunity to do a 4-week course at Marble Hill House, to build confidence whilst learning to become a tour guide. This was a big challenge for me, but I did it and I’m glad I did!

Marble Hill House is a wonderful group of people especially, the kind and welcoming Rachel.

I became a Shepherd’s Star volunteer because I love being involved in things where smiles are put on everyone’s faces especially those who are going through difficult issues in their life’s.

I’ve found my worth again, my purpose is to be happy, do what I love doing, and help making others happy.

Thank you.