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Q:  Many people see the new year as a fresh start, do you see lots more people coming into The Nelson Trust? 

A:  The start of the year is often a really busy time for the staff at the Nelson Trust as people are either making decisions to start their year afresh and change their outlooks, set some aims and make some changes, or others find it really difficult to manage at this time of year due to depression.

Q: Are people also more keen to talk about getting back into work? 

A:  A lot of clients and participants are keen to start the year with fresh objectives to get training, gain qualifications or get into work. Nelson Trust staff often refer their clients to the GEM project and the majority of my participants were clients at some point. With a bit of experience, we tend to keep the clients with their key workers so that I can focus on education, employment and training with them to support them with developing their future.

Q: What happens the first time you meet a new participant?

A: The first time I meet a new participant, I go through a series of questions, I will either meet them with their key worker, or if they’ve been referred through the GEM Project, I carry out an initial assessment for both the Nelson Trust and GEM. I tell them all about what the Nelson Trust and the GEM programme offers and see if they think it’s appropriate for them. You’d be surprised how much people open up, even on that first meeting and by the end of the first meeting, we have usually set up a future meeting in a couple of weeks time.

Q:  How do you motivate your participants, and keep them motivated when there are bumps in the road?

A:  My clients frequently suffer from anxiety and depression and have days and weeks or even months where they really struggle to stay motivated. They frequently don’t even contact me or come to the meetings we have set when they’ve had a big set back. At these times, I try to stay motivated and positive myself, I try to help them see the positive side of their experience, I try to motivate them to get feedback or look objectively with them at what went wrong where ever possible.

I encourage my clients to keep gratitude lists and use positive affirmations. Sometimes I direct them to books such as The Secret so that they can learn more about being positive, and tell them about motivational speakers or life coaches they can find online. I encourage my participants to attend courses to help them gain confidence and life skills, make new friends and have positive experiences. I’m lucky that we have a lot of positive things going on at the women’s centre for our women that I can direct them to including Emotional Health & Wellbeing, lunch club, art therapy, art courses, craft group and and more.

Q:  What’s your personal motivation or mantra?

A:  I do yoga as often as possible to help me to stay grounded and calm, I keep a gratitude list myself and always try to stay positive. I often use positive affirmations, such as:

‘I am ready to attract abundance into my life’.

Q: What would you say to anyone considering getting on to the GEM Project?

A:  The GEM Project is more than just an educational or training programme, it is about offering personal, support which is tailored for the individual. There are also lots of opportunities that arise through the GEM Project that participants can benefit from, which they might not be offered if they had never been involved with the GEM programme.

by Becky Boseley