“Sammy is different from the teachers I had at school. She works through things I don’t understand step by step."

I was initially referred to Llamau for support because I’d been living in an abusive relationship. My ex was very controlling and managed to isolate me from my friends and family. He used to hate it if I visited my family so to keep the peace I stopped contact but I didn’t want to. He’d always check my phone and even threatened one person to stay away from me after seeing we were friends on Facebook.

Thankfully I was able to see how dangerous the relationship was becoming and I left him after an incident that could have really hurt me. We lived together at the time so I had to explain what had happened to the council. We both had to end the tenancy because it was classed as a family home. I went back to live with my mum.

I was referred to Llamau because of the domestic abuse I’d suffered. My Support Workers, Sam and Jamie, were really lovely. To begin with we’d meet once a week and face to face but because of Covid we had to talk over the phone or through Zoom. The support from them did wonders for me. They allowed me the time to talk about how I was feeling and offered me advice. They helped me understand I may never get rid of the feelings I have but I can learn to cope with them. Thanks to them I began talking more and more to my family and seeing my friends again.

Sam and Jamie referred me to Llamau’s Symud Ymlaen Moving Forward programme after I told them I really wanted to get into the world of work. I’d always wanted to work but never knew where to start. Plus, my confidence was really low because of everything I’d been through. Ashley from Llamau contacted me and arranged for me to go into my nearest Centre for a relaxed chat. Like an interview but not as intense. We started working together from then on.

Ashley asked me what I wanted to do in my career, so I told him how I’d always wanted to get into retail work. He then started to look at retail work placements for me and whilst he was doing that, I began my employment training. I learned about time and money management, which has helped me a lot. Some of the lessons were hard but Ashley told me to ask for help if I needed it so that always made me feel better. I was supposed to start working in Pound Stretcher in Feb 2020 but Covid stopped everything so I’ve only just started in November just gone.

Whilst waiting to start work I joined Llamau’s Step Into Programme, where Sammy, my tutor, taught me loads. She’s so sweet and we get on like a house on fire. I can literally tell her anything and talk for ages but we still get all my work done. Sammy is different from the teachers I had at school. She works through things I don’t understand step by step whereas in school I was put in after school clubs that covered the topics I didn’t struggle with as much.

I’ve done a lot of my lessons online and others have been posted out to me.  I’ve really enjoyed keeping my mind busy and some have actually been fun. I much prefer being busy, which is why I love working at Pound Stretcher now. Whenever deliveries come in I’m always there helping out. On my very first day, Ashley came with me, which was good because I didn’t know anyone but now whenever I go in I’m confident because I know everyone and we talk about everything.

Laura has taken over from Ashley now and she’s great too. She’ll be coming into store soon to check I’m doing alright. I am doing so much better now and feel happy. I’d reassure anyone coming to Llamau for help that they’re doing the right thing.

I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be offered a job here after my six month placement is up but I don’t want to say that too often in case I jinx myself.