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Why a culture of trust makes all the difference

15 July 2015

The Well-being in the East portfolio has worked with over 30,000 individuals across almost 30 projects aimed at improving the health, well-being and happiness of local people and families. In this blog Susannah Howard, Director of Enable East, explains the impact these projects have made through building a culture of trust with the people they help. 

cooking-healthy-meal-2At the heart of any well-being project are the beneficiaries, the people who through their involvement with the project can now look at life with a new perspective and replace negative thoughts with hopeful, positive and motivating fresh ideas.

Our projects often meet vulnerable adults and believe in building relationships based on trust and supporting people to make small changes to improve their quality of life.

‘Anna’ saw a poster at her GP’s surgery for Mid Essex Mind’s ‘Building Balance and Resilience’ project. She is 22 and has a social phobia. She came to one of our sessions with her mum but was too nervous to enter the building. One of the project staff introduced herself and reassured Anna that the session was very informal and friendly. We sat Anna near the door so she could leave if things got too much.

During this first session, Anna made no eye contact and didn’t engage in any conversation. She left the room on a number of occasions but did complete the kite making project we were doing that day. We encouraged her to go outside and fly the kite, and although initially reluctant, she did join the others.

Anna attended many of our workshops, and over the next 18 months took part in cooking, crafts and exercise. She was soon able to hold short conversations, look people in the eye and even joined in some sessions without needing her mother there.

Anna’s mother says her daughter’s confidence has drastically improved and she’s gradually overcoming her anxieties and phobias. She now has cognitive behaviour therapy, which is helping her develop coping strategies. It’s been so satisfying to watch this young lady progress so well.

There are many stories like Anna’s coming to light, stories of hope, courage and self-discovery. These wouldn’t happen without the time and commitment of the wonderful project teams across the country, and the beneficiaries who take themselves out of their comfort zone and put their trust in a complete stranger.

The Well-being in the East portfolio, delivered by Enable East, was made up of 29 projects delivered across the East of England, the North East and the East Midlands. It aimed to improve the well-being and resilience of individuals and families through increased physical activity, healthier eating and improved emotional health. 

To find out more, visit Enable East’s website

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