By Rosie Collingwood - Assistant Programme Leader (Medway Programme)

Before joining the Medway Programme, Amber was previously on an Animal Care course at MidKent College. She passed level one, but when progressing onto level two her pre-existing anxiety worsened. The anxiety got so bad that she began to have regular panic attacks in class. She also has dyslexia, so felt extremely overwhelmed with the volume and level of work, and found there wasn’t enough 1:1 support, which left her feeling behind the rest of the group.

Due to this difficult experience, Amber looked into other options to gain more qualifications in a suitable environment. She decided to join the Medway Programme. She found it hard to speak to new people, but knew she would work better in small groups.

Despite not being there myself when the programme began, I was informed that she turned up to the first session extremely upset, close to a panic attack. She turned up to each following session early, so she was first in the room, as entering a busy room heightens her anxiety. As she progressed with work on the programme, she became more comfortable, and approached me with ease to help her with work. 1:1 support from myself and Carrieann (Programme Leader) ensured she had the support and supervision in order to get work completed, as without this she would have struggled enormously.

The Medway Programme has helped Amber with her confidence; despite still being quite shy within the group, she did make a couple of friends, and enjoyed coming to sessions each day. During the teamwork section of the course, at our fundraising day, Amber ran the raffle with a friend, which was a massive step for her in terms of confidence.

Amber carried out her week’s work experience at the Sue Ryder charity shop. Similar to the programme itself, she began her work experience very shy and anxious, but grew in confidence as the week went on and we received positive feedback from her work experience supervisor.

Moving on after the Medway Programme: Amber is currently signed up with Motivise, and is progressing with the support of her adviser.