Janet Bell had been a homecare assistant for 24 years when she suddenly found herself in a very dark place. A client she was very close to passed away and, as depression set in, a referral from her doctor led her to the doors of BCHA’s Ignite programme…

“My client was only four years older than me and we shared a lot about our lives and families. When she died I was devastated – it felt like my whole world had fallen apart.

“I went to the doctors where, as well as putting me on anti-depressants, they recommended the NHS service Steps 2 Wellbeing – and because my job was the main cause of how I was feeling they suggested it might be worth going to Ignite.

“Ignite helps give people the confidence and skills to believe in themselves and get back into work.
“When I started the course I didn’t join in much at first. But all the coaches are very positive – there’s no pressure, just encouragement. You can pick and choose which parts of the course you want to do. I tried meditation for the first time and I found that very helpful. I also started yoga which I really enjoyed.

“And all of a sudden it felt like the fog had cleared….”

“There’s a timetable of activities at Ignite and you can choose to do as much or as little as you like. I came for a month’s course and there are different things to do every day. And even when the course has finished there is always someone there to help.

“One lady I met had kept coming back because she hadn’t got to where she wanted to be, and that’s fine. I missed coming here and I’ve been back a few times too. I’m going to keep in touch with some of the people I met on the course.

“Before, I felt like I was finished – but now I can see there are possibilities. Everyone who comes to Ignite is different but there is help for everyone – one young lad on my course is being helped to set up a business.

“It was hard to admit I was struggling – I’ve always been the strong one who people turn to. But coming here helped me to be more open to the support of others.
“I’m now thinking of changing jobs or volunteering – I’d really love to work with children. I think my age might be against me but I feel I can try, with the help of the coaches here.”

Jane’s piece of advice for changemaking:

“Just give it a go – it’s never too late to learn new life lessons. Now I feel like the old me is coming back”

  • £3,500 can provide Construction Skills Certification Scheme card training
    registration fees for 100 people looking to upgrade their employment skills.
  • £1,000 would pay for 10 16-18 year olds to undertake NVQ level 2 Health and Social Care or a plastering course through Bournemouth and Poole College