I first heard about Restore when I was in hospital. A man named Andy came to talk to us all about what support there would be available to us when we left. I’m so glad he did because if he didn’t I would have never heard about Restore. When I first came to look around I was so nervous. I had looked around other groups before but never felt they were right for me and I was sure it was going to be the same with Restore.
What first struck me is how welcoming everyone is, not in a pushy way but so relaxed like family or an old friend. I really liked the idea of having a structured day, a chance to join in on group activities and try something new but also follow a routine. When I was younger I always wanted to be a carpenter, so I really enjoy the woodwork side of things. The activities and tasks we do act as a distraction and really help take your mind off things.
At Restore you can’t tell the difference between a member, a volunteer or permanent staff. It’s great. You’re all together, and all equal. I have been at Restore for about 15 months now and I have learnt so much. One of the other members is a trained chef and I have learnt loads of delicious recipes that I then cook at home. I have learnt that I am good at talking to people. I know how to talk confidently, 15 months ago when I first looked around I was so unsure and anxious, now I’m the one giving the tours!
I look forward to coming here, to look forward is something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. It sneaks up on you, you don’t realise the progress you’ve made or how far you’ve come until you look back and see who you were before. I’m hoping to get back into work. I have already started meeting with an employment coach and have completed day one of Mental Health First aid training.
If I could say anything to those struggling at the moment it would be, you are not alone. There are places you can go, places where even if you’re having a bad day it’s fine because people get it. Places where everyone is equal and supportive. For me The Beehive has been like a family.