Paint brushes at the ready for a 60 minute makeover!

Kim Smith had been a volunteer at SOLAR (Swindon Options for Life And Recovery), part of the CRI for seven years. The CRI is a leading charity providing free treatment and support to hundreds of vulnerable people facing addiction, homelessness and domestic abuse every year.

Kim Smith had been a volunteer at SOLAR (Swindon Options for Life And Recovery), part of the CRI for seven years. The CRI is a leading charity providing free treatment and support to hundreds of vulnerable people facing addiction, homelessness and domestic abuse every year.

Kim is a single mum with two children. Her daughter Shannon is 19 has ADHD, autism and suffers from anxiety attacks; her son Kieran is 17 and also has ADHD. Kim describes them as “A bit of a handful”.
Kim began her time with the CRI in 2008 after receiving treatment herself; attending an art and music project five days a week for thirteen weeks. The course made her look at herself, and after a little soul searching, she began to help out as a volunteer at SOLAR. After six years of supporting others, Kim was put forward by a number of her peers for a new support project called ASAP; she was subsequently approached by a lady called Karen McCafferty.
After a life changing illness at the age of 42, Karen McCafferty decided to re-evaluate her career as a chef. Having supported fellow sufferers with the same illness, she took praise and advice from others that inspired her to re-educate herself to become a councillor. Now working as a Swindon based Recovery Case Manager, she has over ten years of experience working for the CRI.
In October 2014, a pilot project was launched by the CRI with Karen Co-ordinating. ASAP (Alcohol Support and Advocacy Project )is a two year project funded by Swindon Borough Council which aims to address the harm that alcohol can do to local communities. ASAP does not just focus on the service user but also upon their family, friends and anybody affected directly and indirectly.
Karen covers the Borough of Swindon and works with many support organisations building a growing a strong support network; she also works with big organisations to promote ‘dry and happy’ without alcohol to employees. TBG Learning is a Work Programme provider based in Swindon and is part of ASAP’s support network and has held workshops and supported in a number of projects including Christmas collections for the homeless.

Since joining Karen’s team, Kim has undergone a lot of training and will become group community facilitator for ASAP delivering the SMART (Self Management And Recovery Training) recovery programme. Kim said “It is very rewarding helping others who are experiencing the same situation I had been in; I take comfort in giving others the tools to cope with the urges”.
Karen acknowledged that Kim does so much for others and decided it was time she received something back. Much to Kim’s surprise, Karen announced that on the 11th December 2015, Kim’s house would receive an overhaul and a complete 60 minute makeover. A team from TBG Learning Swindon were on hand to support the project with Helen Saunders leading the TBG Learning team throughout the morning.

The day was an extremely happy and joyous occasion with the occasional emotional tear shed, especially when Kim’s usually anxious daughter Shannon gave a heartfelt speech regarding her mum. Shannon said “After all of her courses, Mum became a different Mum; she promised me and my brother that she wouldn’t touch another drop… and she hasn’t; She should be really proud of herself”.

During the undertaken decorating challenge it was accepted that the 60 minutes may have been a little ambitious. The project was finally completed over the course of a few weeks and after Christmas; Kim’s house had received the full makeover it deserved.

Congratulations to Kim, Shannon and Kieron on their newly decorated house, to Karen and her team for their kindness and generosity and finally to Helen Saunders and the TBG Learning team for their support; you all did a great job!
If you’d like to find out more about ASAP, please contact SOLAR on 01793 695405 or email Swindon.solar@cri.or.uk

I would say to anyone who’s thinking of joining TBG Learning that it’s a great opportunity to take. I felt that my life wasn’t really going anywhere because I felt that I couldn’t achieve anything, but TBG Learning got me motivated.

It’s nothing like school, they treat you like young adults and are all really friendly and are there to help you and support you in whatever way they can.

Keri Suett

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