I moved to Winthorpe 17 years ago as a single parent to my two year old daughter Chloe. I live just behind the Community centre in a small cul-de-sac. Back then it wasn’t a very nice place to live, loads of ASB, Drug use and selling right on my door step. Police were there most days. I was a ‘mouse’, I kept myself to my self and stayed in my house. I didn’t feel that I could do anything to change what was going on around me.
In 2008 I met my now partner Carl, he was out going and good at talking to people. We went on to have a daughter together, Izzy-mai.
In 2011 we had a stall at the Jubilee celebration on the park ran by the local residents association, that’s how we became involved. We started volunteering at the youth club, we made new friends and I quickly got more involved with the centre. Opening and closing for activities and sending emails (something I had never really needed to do before) I soon became the Secretary.
It gave me a purpose, I felt like I was doing something important.
In 2012 we were given the opportunity to go to Exeter and see all about the C2 story. It was inspiring, I came back with a ‘fire in my belly’ to do more. The Partnership was born.
I was attending regular meetings, learning new things all the time and I really enjoyed it. Still nervous but gradually growing in confidence and finding my voice.
Thanks to Public health (Paul Johnson) and our local CCG, who completely got what we were trying to do, they created a job role for a Community coordinator. I went for it and some how got it!
That’s when things really changed for me.
As part of my contract I had to learn to drive, it took me a year but I passed first time. It is one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my family.
I actually have a “proper job” doing something that I love and that doesn’t feel like a job. Not many people can say that!
I attend meetings with the council and other service providers, I talk freely to strangers who come to me asking for help.
My community is able to ask me for help to set things up and actually make a difference to so many people. Its a great feeling.
We are now getting bigger and stronger with what we do here, voices are being heard and listened to. We’ve won several awards too, including NHS & local Business of the year award! Winthorpe is a great place to live and will continue to be whilst we all keep working together. There are many other great stories like mine in Winthorpe because of what we’ve achieved together with our partners, and proves what can happen when health is created and led locally ‘by the people for the people.’ If you had told me 10 years ago that this would happen I wouldn’t have believed you , but I have definitely realized that life is what you make it, so lets make it GREAT FOR OUR WHOLE COMMUNITY!!