Education Futures Trust provides high quality support and learning tailored to improve the life chances of vulnerable children and adults, particularly in the Hastings area. Their work focuses on building resilience and improving health, especially mental health.
The grant given by the Foundation helped the group deliver a range of courses such as “Bushcraft” and “Women’s DIY”. The courses, aimed at vulnerable adults, were all based outdoors to highlight the benefits of being outside in contact with nature, and its impact on mental health and wellbeing.
The sessions consisted of a series of exciting, hands-on activities for adults suffering from poor mental health, especially those struggling with leaving their homes and being in unfamiliar places. All participants were encouraged to share their challenges and stories to support each other and develop a shared understanding that they were not alone.
Real Lives – Alice’s Story*
Before attending the course, Alice showed a high level of social anxiety, she struggled to leave the house alone and would avoid busy areas. She reported that this started during the Covid pandemic, and had not significantly improved since. After a few attempts by a friend to involve Alice in Education Futures’ courses, she eventually agreed to attend ‘Women’s DIY’, and a plan was made to support her to attend.
Initially, her friend walked Alice to the site where she would meet the course leader outside of the building. This was repeated each week. Alice was visibly anxious in the initial session and relied very heavily on the staff there. The following week, when the course leader met her outside, she mentioned that seeing others struggling like her made her feel less anxious, because they would understand and wouldn’t think she was odd.
Alice’s confidence grew, her participation increased during the course and she also started communicating with others. During a conversation with the course leader, Alice said that she ‘wasn’t quite there yet but felt better about going outside.’
Alice has attended other courses since then and is now able to attend and enter the building without any support from the staff. She now helps with her own DIY projects at home.
*name has been changed for anonymity