Isolated new mum to prolific local volunteer
Julie was new to Seacroft and feeling isolated following the birth of her first child.To compound the issue her husband was working 12 hour shifts and she’d been diagnosed with post-natal depression.All in all Julie was finding it very difficult to cope as a first time mum, but encouraged by Parklands Children’s Centre staff, she joined Space2’s Mind, Body and Soul project for local women in 2010, then being run at the Children’s Centre.She particularly liked the project as she learnt new skills and took part in activities that she’d not have thought to take part in, including photography and crafts.It also enabled her to have some time away from her baby daughter and do something just for herself.Julie found that this helped her regain her self esteem and confidence.The supportive and friendly atmosphere on the project also enabled a natural exchange of conversation amongst the women taking part whilst undertaking other activities.Julie has found this support from other local women really useful and it has extended into friendships beyond the end of the project.
Whilst attending Mind, Body and Soul, Julie easily slipped in to a volunteering role, making the drinks for other participants and helping to tidy up after the session.This led her to take on a number of new volunteering roles.Initially she moved across to the Mind, Body and Soul project in Gipton, supporting new women attending there, then on to Parklands Children’s Centre and at Space2 with various activities.In fact, Julie, is the first volunteer to be recruited for Space2’s new FRESH project, using invisible theatre and pop up events to promote positive health messages across Seacroft and Gipton by and for local people.
As well as volunteering, Julie also joined the Voices of Day choir, which further widened her social networks in Seacroft and she was able to take part in two Recipe for Life shows at West Yorkshire Playhouse, a massive achievement and enjoyable experience, 2 years on from feeling extremely depressed and isolated.
Julie’s young daughter has also benefited, having attended crèche at a number of the projects.She is an outgoing, confident girl and her current nursery said she settled extremely well.
Julie is keen for others to understand the range of benefits from attending community projects, particularly the social connections and friends that she’s made, new skills and experiences and the new opportunities it opens up.Apart from the numerous local volunteering roles Julie has undertaken, she’s found out about other activities and events that she’s attended with her daughter.She says “it’s been a good way to meet people, a safe way to meet people and a free way to meet people.I’d really recommend it to others – give it a go!”