Member Story – Emily a New referral at Designs in Mind

Member Stories

Emily is currently on our new referrals, attending 10 weeks of workshops before officially becoming a member with us.

She is an absolute inspiration, a young lady with a very full life. Emily has come through from bereavement to bagging a dream job as a Brain Tumour support call worker, working from home.

We thought it very fitting to celebrate this wonderful win, with an insight into Emily’s journey.

We are sure you’ll find her story to be of inspiration if you’ve faced mental health difficulties or bereavement yourself.

“I am a member of the Facebook Page called ‘Oswestry Chronic Illness Network’, I put a post on there a few weeks after I had had surgery last year looking for any suggestions on something I could do for myself as I often give a lot of my time up for various charities and projects but never really do anything just for me.

A lady got back to me, mentioning Designs in Mind. I looked at the website and thought it would be useful for me as I enjoy arts and I would be in a safe place where everyone understands anxiety. I spoke to my GP about it, he also agreed I would benefit from it so he referred me.

I am a new referral so I only started in January 2023. So far there have been 5 sessions, though I did bail on the second session, as I had a bad day! However, I am very much enjoying it now and am so glad I went back on the third week.

I think it’s still very early days, but I can already see an improvement by just taking a couple of hours every week to focus on myself.

To just forget about the outside world and all I do in my personal and work life. My time at Designs in Mind Studio is for me to relax and do some art. I’m learning new techniques, so it’s been great, I am really enjoying learning new things.

Photos of a Screenprint of Emily’s design

I’d say my confidence has grown over the weeks. The first week I joined I think I barely spoke to many people in the group. Now I feel like I’ve made some good friends and that’s just after 5 weeks. I also love to have a bit of banter with the staff and volunteers at Designs in Mind, something I never thought I could see myself doing in week 1.”

When I asked Emily what she may have done had she not found us she said,

“I don’t suppose I would have done anything if I’m honest. I didn’t want to go down the typical counselling route – been there, done that. I wanted something different, something to give me a purpose, something for myself and to make me feel happy. Designs in Mind does that. I am creating and will hopefully eventually create things to be sold in the shop, how amazing is that!”

I asked Emily about how she bagged her job , “I was applying for various jobs, but my dream job has always been to work for a charity that has helped me or my family in the past/present. I took the plunge and messaged the CEO of Brain Tumour Support to see if she could let know of any vacancies that may come up. Fortunately for me, the support professional in the area I live was due to start a new role soon so a vacancy was to become available. I chose this charity as they supported me and my family when my mum was very poorly with her brain tumour. The support was mainly received by myself as a carer for my mum because by this point, my mum was too poorly to really understand.

Unfortunately, my mum passed away 3 years ago now and I then spent time volunteering for Brain Tumour Support as a way of giving something back. Then covid hit hard and a lot moved online so as a volunteer I felt I wasn’t able to do as much as I previously could. I took the decision to stop volunteering for a while and started a master’s degree to better myself educationally. I am now nearly 2/3 of the way through that and going to become a Support Professional for Brain Tumour Support – how lucky am I?! This new role means the world to me. To give that support to others that are going through what me and my family went through will be invaluable. I hope I do the charity justice.”

I’m sure Emily will be a fantastic support in this role as her Lived Experience will shine through.

Emily went on to say, “Stuart at Designs in Mind allowed me to attend my interview at the studio as it was scheduled online, right in the middle of a session so Stuart found a quiet room for me.

It was so lovely as everyone in the group was boosting me up before it. So I felt really supported. I recieved the call while I was still with everyone, to say I been successful and I got the job. On telling my news, everyone cheered, it was so lovely.”

I was intrigued to know more about Emily’s life, so I enquired further…Emily shared, “Outside of the studio I am a busy person! I will be changing roles from my current of Support Worker for individuals with learning disabilities to Support Professional for Brain Tumour Support. I also volunteer for Colostomy UK, Crohn’s and Colitis and the Attfield Theatre in Oswestry. Along with my friend, I run a support group on Facebook for those with a stoma and their friends and family, we have also just started up our own Podcast talking about our lives with our stoma’s, all the ins and outs. I try to put a good amount of my time into Master’s degree in Education, Psychology and Mental Health Science and then what free time I have, I like to spend with friends and family but since coming to Designs in Mind, I have been trying to keep a little bit of time aside to carry on with artwork at home. Whether it’s a new project for myself or doing something in preparation for the next Designs in Mind meeting – I’ve realised it is important to also make sure I do something for myself.”

I wondered what else the future holds for Emily after such a Soul searching journey “I’m not sure my life can fit much more plans into it right now, other than start my new job role and finish my Masters. Though I will definitely carry-on making time for myself and hope to carry on being a part of Designs in Mind once I have finished the 10 week course.”

We’re really proud to have Emily be part of what we do here at Designs, we hope her story and journey had helped inspire you, our readers.

Here are some links to Emily’s podcasts, Stoma and Chronic Illness Facebook pages and Brain Tumour Support website.

Podcast link – Operation and Early Days of Recovery by The Stoma Girls (anchor.fm) https://bit.ly/3YZXITT

Our Stoma Support Facebook page – Stoma Support in Shropshire and Mid Wales – https://www.facebook.com/groups/stomasupport/

Chronic illness Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/oswestrychronicillnessnetwork/

Brain Tumour Support https://www.braintumoursupport.co.uk/

Blog Written by Willow Member & Social Media Coordinator