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Abbie’s Story

I had counselling at No5 in 2014 when I was 14 years old. I remember how calming it felt on my first session to walk up to a building that looked like a house and that this feeling was felt throughout the building too – I had thought it would look more ‘clean and clinical’ not warm and inviting – this helped to calm my nerves and anxiety of my first session.

No5 helped me through my tough and turbulent times I faced through my childhood and teen years. It was incredible to have someone listen to what I had to say who was patient when I was struggling to find the words to explain myself and being given the tools to create or draw what I was trying express. I was used to getting shut down or cut off before I could express my thoughts or feelings so having someone who was there to listen to me and what I needed to say even if it was ‘silly’ was so amazing to my 14 year old self. It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders and I was not alone in it anymore.

I went from sitting at lunch with my friends with my headphones in not engaging to talking with them again, laughing, being more open about what was happening and being true to myself. I also learnt how to recognise when I was maybe beginning to feel anxious in places and now 7 years on I can still recognise this cue and so can the people close to me.
It was nice to be myself – more so than before as I had a deeper understanding of myself and my journey through life and how it makes me me! They helped not only me, but the relationship I have now with my friends and family! I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their support.

2 years later I returned to No5 as part of NCS and found out about their Young Ambassador Scheme. I just knew that I had to apply as I felt so compelled to give back as much as I could to the charity that gave me the stepping stones to my true self. After my visit to No5 with NCS, I told the group of people I was on the programme with about m experience their and the leader fed back to me about how inspiring it was to hear and the benefit she saw it have on the team. That moment further encouraged my need to volunteer at No5 as I wanted to help more young people who were just like me.

As a Young Ambassador, I spent a lot of time telling my story through workshops and seeing things click in both young peoples and grown-ups minds was always the most rewarding part of delivering them. I also did many fundraising events such as Santa Runs, Reading Pride and even helped win funding for the Mindfulness Colouring Book! I also was a part of the hosting of 2 performing arts concerts.

All of this helped me grow even further as an individual and really boosted my confidence – 14 year old Abbie would not have imagined that she would ever speak in front of a class of 20 let alone 300+ people! During this time I became the Lead Young Ambassador in 2018 furthering my involvement with No5.

In 2021, I joined the No5 staff team as their Projects Coordinator and am so proud to play an even bigger role at No5 and help them through supporting more young people! I cannot wait to see what the next 50 years brings for No5 and wonder how I will stay be involved when I’m 71!

 

Date of Memory: 2014