Rebecca Clark, a 30-year-old Greenfields resident from Braintree, found herself feeling anxious and sliding into depression two years ago after leaving a troubled relationship. Then she was referred to one of our computer classes, and her life began to change for the better.
She recalls: “I was brought up in Braintree and moved to Ipswich 15 years ago, following family issues. I met my partner there and we had four children over the 12 years we were together. It was a difficult relationship, and I also drunk too much and took drugs. When the relationship ended I moved to Braintree and into a Greenfields property.”
The decision was made to place three of their children in foster care, with the fourth being adopted. Rebecca was depressed and bored, suddenly living on her own. She was worried she would slip back into her old habits, so our Tenancy Sustainment Team encouraged her to join our “Be Connected” programme to keep her busy and increase her online skills.
Rebecca recounts: “I was very nervous on my first day. However, I started learning and began to look forward to coming in each time. Doing the course refreshed my memory of skills I learnt at school, like how to save photos, and I also learnt how to create a spreadsheet to help me to budget my money – which is so useful!”
Rebecca said she could not believe it when Val Thompstone, Greenfields’ Digital Inclusion Co-ordinator who leads the classes, asked her to become a Digi-pal. She said: “I was so shocked and pleased that I went home and cried!”
Rebecca began teaching others to get online, as well as expanding on her existing skills. She’s gaining a lot from the experience, and her anxiety and depression is improving as a result: “I really enjoy being a Digi-pal; especially when I get thanked. It makes me feel like a better person in myself – liked and appreciated.”
Rebecca still sees three of her children, and is hopeful that they will soon be able to stay at her home from time to time. She tells us: “Volunteering gives me the power to carry on – everything I do is for my children. I just passed my City and Guilds in Basic Online Skills, and would love to get a job helping and supporting people – ideally at Greenfields!
She adds: “I’m so much happier now, and would highly recommend coming along to the computer lessons. It is an amazing experience and a fun way to learn.”
If you or someone you know would benefit from our Be Connected Programme, please click on this link to find out more: Get online