I was struggling to see the light
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Following cuts to spending there has been an increased need to offer accessible help to the most vulnerable members of society. Throughout the areas that Bromford operates there has been an increase in drop-in sessions offering help and coaching to people on a multitude of issues.
Here support worker, Sam Siviter, explains how the drop-in at Cannock Chase District Council has proved invaluable to a young man who didn’t know where to turn for help.
“Adam’s mother was diagnosed with cancer whilst he was a teenager and he became her carer. Sadly, she passed away when he was 18 causing Adam to sink into a deep depression leading to him becoming isolated.
“Adam was born with a port wine birth mark that covers 80% of his body which he felt conscious of as he had been bullied as a child. This bullying resulted in him becoming anxious in social situations and he withdrew from everyone. Because his mother had health issues when Adam was growing up his ‘birthmark’ was never investigated meaning that his condition was left undiagnosed.
“Adam was referred to us by the council as they were concerned about him managing his tenancy alone. He was assigned support workers and they did some great work with him, however Adam would shut himself away and not answer the door as he did not want to engage with people.
“Adam then came to a drop in session after he received a letter from the council regarding a boiler check that needed carrying out. He didn’t want anyone to go to the property because of his anxiety. We had a long chat and I explained to Adam that we could help and that he could come to the drop in any Thursday for help.
“It was great to see him the next week and again we just had a chat and he brought in a letter that I helped him with. Adam then became a regular at the drop-in and the more he got to know us the more he asked for help. He was struggling financially and he was grateful for the food parcels that we helped him to recieve.
“Adam’s mother had passed away at Christmas so this will always be a difficult time for him, however he was cheered up by the lovely food parcel that the wonderful people at Christian Centre in Cannock supplied.
“Over time we talked about his birthmark and some other health issues he had been experiencing. Adam felt there was something wrong so we had a bit of a Google and thought he may have something a bit more than just the birthmark. We made an appointment for Adam to see his GP who made a referral to a dermatologist. I went along with Adam to see the consultant and he was in there for ages! It came to light that Adam had been born with a rare condition called Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, (KPT) the symptoms of which are a port wine birth mark, hypertrophy (extra growth in limbs) varicose veins and vascular problems. His condition is so rare that the consultant asked Adam’s permission to have photographs taken for a medical journal.
“Adam had previously applied for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) on the grounds of his depression however this was declined but now he has a diagnosis and care plan is being put in place we applied again. He has been awarded high rate PIP which will help him to move forward with his life.
“Adam now feels positive about the future - he always felt there was something not quite right and now he knows what condition he has he feels he can move forward and get the right help. He is really grateful for the support he has received and is looking forward to a brighter future. He wants to further his education and would like to help children who have experienced loss or other issues in the future.”
Here is a letter that Adam has written to show how much the drop-in has helped him:
“Hi, my name is Adam. Over the past few years I have had trouble with various things. I lost my mom at the age of 18 and had to move into a flat on my own, this affected me massively and I became severely depressed. I would not engage with anybody and shut myself away from the world.
“The support workers used to visit my home but because of the way I felt, I would not answer the door although I knew they were there to help. So then I got told about the Bromford drop-in at Cannock Chase Council every Thursday and for me, this was great because I found it much easier to engage and start getting the help I needed.
“Since I’ve been working with Sam and Carla I’ve had a lot of things sorted. Sam came with me to see my doctor about a birthmark I’ve had all my life (I previously wouldn’t have gone on my own due to my anxiety). He referred me to a specialist and after seeing various specialists, with the encouragement of Sam and Carla, I have now been diagnosed with a rare disorder called KTS.
“I would like to thank Sam and Carla for being there for me at a time I wasn’t there for myself. Because if it wasn’t for them I would be in the same position I was in, struggling to see the light. I cannot thank them enough”
Adam is just one of many people that have been helped by attending the drop-in, Charles was isolated and says that the drop-in has changed his life - read his story here.