Going from Strength to Strength
Carol first teamed up with Space2 nearly five years ago when Sally, one of our Community Development Workers, offered a short project with Seacroft Women’s Action Group, encouraging them to walk locally, whilst getting creative. Armed with cameras , Carol and the group set out around the local area. Carol captured some fantastic sunset shots, which became part of the group’s first ever exhibition displayed at Seacroft Library. She hasn’t looked back since. She’s lost weight and took part in the Sport Relief Mile in 2012, with friends dressed as vegetables – why miss an opportunity to promote healthy eating?
Next she volunteered to interview participants at Space2’s annual showcase, Recipe for Life, where she met Voices of the Day choir members and ended up joining them. At first Carol was anxious about joining in and sat and listened but slowly and with encouragement she gained confidence and before she knew it was preparing for her first performance – one of many including being part of a 240 strong choir at Temple Newsam as part of the Olympic Torch celebrations with a crowd of 17500, then an audience with the Queen on her Jubilee visit to the City. This was a massive confidence boost for Carol, who says “I really thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I surprised myself, it was wonderful”.
With a new found love of performing, Carol has become a lynchpin at Space2 showcases and events. She joined the FRESH campaign, undertaking regular training to promote healthy lifestyle messages to neighbours and local people. This has involved the creation of humorous but informative sketches and ditties, such as, Sandra of Seacroft urging people 40-74 to visit their GP for a health check. You can see Carol in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IgJM0QLvZk
Her fame doesn’t stop there. Apart from a live performance at West Yorkshire Playhouse as Sandra, she also performed in a DVD Space2 made to encourage the correct use of inhalers that is played in GP surgeries across the City.
Carol has learnt a huge amount about a range of health issues which she shares with her community through the FRESH project and has attended training on cancer screening for another campaign. She has also undertaken Food Hygiene training and is a regular volunteer at Cook 4 Life and the Ministry of Food in Leeds Market. She said, “I get a lot of pleasure out of helping others and passing on my skills.”
Carol doesn’t have much spare time these days, but she does enjoy a trip to the Opera through Opera North’s community programme, Encore. Along with other Space2 staff and volunteers, she also knits squares for the City’s largest picnic blanket, which we use to gather people at community events. Recently, Carol completed the Race for Life 5km run, alongside 23 other FRESH ladies and family members. It was a massive challenge, but one that she and we are immensely proud of.
Importantly, Carol responded to the fact that Space2 went to where she was at the local community centre, where she felt comfortable and helped her build the confidence and skills to move out of her comfort zone.
“If it hadn’t been for Space2 getting involved, I’d have been sitting on my backside all day. They really encouraged me to take my first step.” And now Carol really enjoys her volunteering and Space2 has gained a prolific and fantastic volunteer.