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Emma’s story: Getting the emotional support I needed

30 September 2022

Our Children’s Centres are vital to the communities they serve, offering a friendly space where families can raise their concerns and find a sympathetic ear. Here we explain how one of our centres worked with one parent to address her concerns and help her face the future.  

For Emma Family Action helped her break a cycle of isolation and anxiety that had lasted for over a decade.

As her son had aged she had increasingly felt trapped in their small one bedroom flat, which left them without much space for themselves and didn’t allow the space for Emma’s long-term partner to live there either.

This contributed to feelings of isolation which had prevented her from meeting new people or seeking support, and her history of having grown up in the care of the local authority made it worse as she was wary of the professionals she’d been surrounded by all her life.

In particular she believed she would be judged as a bad parent, despite there being no concerns in this area. 

Luckily after she was referred to one of our children’s centres her bravery in confronting her fears and working with us helped us to break the cycle of isolation and worry.
We did so in a number of ways. 

Firstly we spoke with the professionals she worked with and Emma herself to tailor support to her needs in every area of life.

For example, we helped Emma to increase her confidence as a parent by helping her access parenting courses. 

Doing so also had the knock-on effect of making her feel less isolated, as she met other parents and discovered she wasn’t alone in her fears.

Despite this huge positive we also realised that in Emma’s case it wasn’t just her environment but also her self-perception and history that was causing her pain, and as such we ensured we checked in regularly by phone and helped her to seek specific counselling and support.  

The result was dramatic.

She said: “I can now go to local events without too much worry or distress which I could never ever have done before ever; I have more confidence and trust in myself to do things I thought I couldn’t before and I am learning to love myself despite my past traumas… It has helped me feel happier inside my head and heart.”.

I have more confidence and trust in myself to do things I thought I couldn’t before and I am learning to love myself despite my past traumas.”

We didn’t, however, neglect the practical support Emma also needed. 

As a result of her lack of confidence, Emma had struggled to access services and, as such, we supported her to access things such as stay and play sessions in her local community and housing support to ensure that her quality of life rose in general.

This has already resulted in a nursery place for her son and, in the long term, should hopefully allow Emma to find more suitable housing.

Emma is clear about what this has meant to her and her family and says it’s clear that Family Action treats families with “love, care and understanding”.

She added: “Having your support has changed mine and my son’s life, given me the courage to face my traumas and given me confidence in myself, people and the world around me”.  

Stories such as Emma’s can affect us all profoundly when we hear them. If you want to support the work Family Action does to help more people like Emma, you can support our services through a donation. And if you’ve struggled with any of the issues raised above and wish to discuss them in a safe environment you can contact our FamilyLine service.