Emily was driven to return to learning so that she could have the skills to support her little boy, who has additional learning needs. Emily is a single mum and has emerged from a turbulent childhood which left her withdrawn, battling with mental health issues and low self-esteem. At 15 she was diagnosed with anorexia and depression and she had been self harming since the age of eleven.

She says, “I locked myself away for four years with awful anxiety and depression, leaving home would leave me with sweats and the shakes, then I realised the effect on my son, that’s when I knew I had to change.”

Emily went through a period of extreme weight gain and during this time she spent a long time locked in her home too scared to answer the door.

Seeing a teaching assistant work with her son inspired Emily to control her anxiety and lack of  confidence and enrol on an Adult Community Learning Introduction to Childcare course. She has thrived in this learning environment and has progressed onto a level 2 programme as well as taking on other courses.

“My life changed for the better right from the start. For once I was looking forward to something that was for myself. Fridays were my day. After the course I would go running, not only did I gain confidence, education and freedom from my head – I finally started to lose weight.” Emily’s physical and mental health has improved, and she’s lost 5 stone since starting with Adult Community Learning and has recently started part-time work in a care home.

She’s used her learning from the childcare programme to develop her parenting skills and support her son’s development, as well as being better able to pursue professionals to secure the assessments he needs and to cope with the paperwork required to navigate the system.

“I’m now education hungry. I’ve completed three courses, currently enrolled on two and I’ve booked onto two more. I can finally see a future of worth. A future my son can be proud of.”