Natalie had experienced years of depression and mental health issues due to past trauma, despite these challenges she had always strived to help others by working as a mental health nurse, caring for her parents and studying a law degree.
Unfortunately, in 2014 Natalie suffered a breakdown which meant she couldn’t leave the house. Following her breakdown, Natalie received some help in the form of counselling and EMDR therapy, this enabled her to regain some quality of life and return to university… although she had very little confidence and still longed for that routine and positive outlook.
In December 2021 Natalie gathered the courage to attend an exercise class, as she had been experiencing leg pain and had been waiting for a Physio appointment for over two years. After several weeks, Natalie was asked to speak at the Keighley Healthy Living AGM to say how the exercise had been extremely beneficial to her mental and physical health, this was a huge step for Natalie as she couldn’t have imagined publicly speaking just a few weeks previous.
Natalie then decided she would love to be more involved at KHL and approached our Volunteer Coordinator to see about contributing some time to help others. Natalie went on to volunteer and support a variety of groups and classes.
After extreme dedication to her volunteer role, KHL saw the potential that Natalie had and gave her the opportunity to work at KHL on a part-time basis to assist with project support and administration alongside her volunteering responsibilities.
“I was elated when KHL offered me paid employment, finally I felt I would be back in a working environment where I felt happy and safe. I can honestly say that being at KHL has changed my life for the better building my confidence, helping me mentally and physically and letting me express what was hidden for over 8 years, I am living proof you can come out the other side with the correct support and surroundings.”
Natalie is a valued member of the team, and now teaches her own weekly British Sign Language course at KHL, something that was previously unimaginable. We are proud that we have been able to be a part of Natalie’s journey, as she is such an inspiration.
Volunteering gave me routine, a positive outlook and the opportunity to meet new people. Coming out of my shell was the best, as I had hidden myself in my little box for so long, I thought I would never immerge and be in an environment where I felt comfortable again.