Hey there campers…
Due to my mental health issues (severe depression and anxiety) I received amazing support from a company called Guinness Care and Support, I was receiving support from them for 2 years and in that 2 years my confidence increased. I felt comfortable with my support worker, in fact she was one of the few people I allowed in my flat.
Earlier this year I found out that due to housing benefit changes affecting the under 35’s i could no longer live in my flat, I had been there 2 years and I had thought I wouldn’t be leaving there any time soon. I have had to move in to a housing association property which just happened to be the same company I received support from just a different arm, Guinness Hermitage.
I decided in May this year that I was going to go back to college full-time after doing a skills for life course for a year which was only 8 hours a week. I decided that I wanted to go back to art which I studied for a year when I left school I didn’t continue because I didn’t get the results I wanted (they were plenty to progress but I’m very hard on myself and wanted higher marks). I decided that I wanted to be an art therapist and/or teach/support special needs young people. Arts and crafts being the one thing that keeps me sane and I want to encourage creativity in young people as I feel it’s not given the attention it deserves in schools. Also art therapy isn’t freely available and I feel I would have benefited from it.
I was worried about how I would afford to do the art course as I’m unable to work due to my mental health issues and I barely survive on the benefits I receive. I expressed my concern to my support worker and she recalled that Guinness Partnership ran an education award each year for those supported by GP either with care and support or housing. She put me forward for the award in June this year.
Just a couple of weeks later I found out I was one of the lucky recipients, I was invited to go to London to receive the award. I gave them a list of the materials and tools I would need for my course, and prepared myself for a rare trip on my own. I used to be very confident and would go on many trips on the train or bus on my own with very little trepidation, in the last 3 years however a lot of that confidence has disappeared and for a while I was agoraphobic (and to some degree I still am). Due to the time and date of the awards lunch there wasn’t anyone available to accompany me so I decided to go alone, I was petrified and was certain I was either going to get very lost and/or have a panic attack. It wasn’t plain sailing I had a few hiccups with what I was wearing and having to take a few breathers in public toilets but I got there. I HATE having my picture taken I was very nervous when I saw the camera guy! I also had to stand up in front of about 30 people and say a little speech never wanted to hide so much in my life! Then there was a photo shoot where I had to pose with some art materials next to a very large brick wall.
Afterwards I travelled across London to have a look round the Tate Modern i got lost a lot but I did it! Was going to attempt the Tate Britain too but it had got quite late so I travelled home.
I received the materials in plenty of time and started my course with enthusiasm that hasn’t waned as yet. I’m enjoying myself greatly and if the first unit is to go by I’m doing well.
I had kinda put the whole experience to the back of my mind I had got very busy with college and acquiring 2 very beautiful but mischievous cats! Then out of the blue i got a phone call from a very nice lady I had met at the awards who worked for Guinness Partnership. She wanted to know if I minded my photo being in Guinness promotional magazines etc. of course though feeling a bit overwhelmed by being asked and knowing people I know would see my photo! I said yes.
Then I was asked something that blew me away I was asked if I would design the front cover of their corporate calendar! YES! Me asked to design something! My first commission!
Of course I said yes and I got right on designing, I sent them 6 designs and below you can see which one. Also I have attached a picture of me as Miss January in the calendar and I received a Guinness publication with my photo in it promoting the awards.
For someone who HATES their photo taken …….