Julie and her key workers Stacey and Claire came in to tell us about Julie, her story and how along with her key workers we have helped her get to where she it today. This is what she had to say:
Julie: I got my first sewing machine when I was 14. My mom and dad bought it for me that Christmas which is quite a lot and they were not a rich family. It costs them £60 which was a lot of money then.
I never ask because I never expect something as big as that. They just knew it was the best thing for me because they knew how much I enjoy it. It was also cost effective because I was doing lots of sewing in the house.
How did you feel when you got it?
Julie: I knew it was my gift because I had to go and choose it because they did not know anything about it. It was so exciting and such a magic thing.
I come from Yorkshire mining village and suddenly one day they said, oh come on, lets go to Rotherham, what for? A sewing machine for you for Christmas, and I was like aaahhhh!
8 years later I joined the army and my sister got it and she broke it. Stacey and Claire saw something in my sewing.
Claire: She has done LiveWell banners for us. I worked with her since July 2013. Even from the beginning when we were doing the support plans, it was all about the sewing; it started to come out then.
Julie: What happened is that at night-time to try to alleviate any stress or depression, to try to help myself. I like paying back so this is why I did this hand sew. Doing that banner acted like a spring for everything else. I took two late at night doing the SYHA banner.
Stacey: We try to emphasise that this is something more unique and bespoke rather than the jewellery because she can tailor this and make it really personal.
Regarding the support…
Julie: They are all very sensitive, very clever and I feel very relaxed with them both and I feel that I can trust them and that is the big issue with me trust. That did not come over night you really had to work it because the sort of person who I Am. Now I know when they are coming to my house I leave the door unlocked. During this process I learnt to trust them but as well I gained trust in myself.
I know this is about my sewing but when you see what I have become. If you have seen me 18 months ago, now I am a different person. And I know this might sound really really emotional but I might not been here today if I never had the input and the support. I know I can phone any of these girls from the top of the hat if I say I am really suffering here, but I haven’t needed to do that.
My son has Asperger and he is even worse to me. But now he is just going to university in Manchester. He is 23 and he is studying history and Japanese. He knows that if any of these girls are coming around, then I will be having a good day, he is reassured.
Tell me a bit about your work for the babies
I have made a few things for people like Claire’s grandson.
Claire: My niece had a baby. This just demonstrates what kind of things Julie can do.
Julie: I’ve always known I can sew and it has never been a big deal to me, but you made me realise just what it is for other people, I never saw that.
I did a wedding dress once about 10 or 11 years ago. My friend wanted a wedding dress that was different, like a period dress with layers. I even did a christening dress that became a family heirloom.
I did bunting, after the wedding dress I lost a lot of confidence in me, my abilities and all of that but the bunting was the springboard that indicated the beginning of a journey of improvement.
The journey you are now, the enterprise and business idea, do you want to tell me how it is working now?
It has been challenging but I love it. Some of the fabrics are really expensive but it keeps me going, I want to do so much with so many different fabrics if only I could afford them.
You say this kept you going, and you’ve suffered with depression before. What would you advice people that suffer from depression?
Get support, I had never heard of South Yorkshire Housing other than they provide housing, and when I was referred to the mental health unit, and they offered me a woman to help sort out my paper work amongst other things, that’s how it was described to me.
When Claire got involved, what she’s got me involved with, the things she’s done for me, what she’s supported me with; I would never have moved house or supported my son at university with out her. I would have just been sat at home watching daytime TV not even striving to get a life. She was more than the paper work, people don’t realise what South Yorkshire Housing has to offer.
Julie: They also saw there was a market out there for things like this rather than jewellery. I feel comfortable when I have my gang of support next to me. I called them the coven because they all hang up on me.