Open Arms

By Lee Lazenby, Community Engagement Officer

Lee met Gina at the Open Arms Hub in Wath during the later part of a recent session. Clearly distressed and anxious, she reached out for assistance. Gina shared a little about her past including a recent downturn in her life. Offering her refreshments, Lee took the time to engage in conversation, discovering that Gina was living with mental health challenges and profound loneliness even following interventions by social services. Expressing difficulty in contacting her care worker, Gina poured out her concerns about financial struggles, including the inability to top up energy meters or purchase food ‘due to a recent betrayal by a so-called friend’. As the discussion unfolded, Gina’s emotions overwhelmed, calming her down, Lee escorted her outside for some fresh air, it was during this time that Gina opened up about her traumatic life experiences. Lee remained focused on providing support. Coincidentally, Lee had earlier noticed a support group relevant to Gina’s condition on the library noticeboard. Retrieving the information, she handed her the leaflet, Gina smiled and that reassured Lee that she might find comfort in this support network. Lee then contacted the Making Our Money Go Further (MMOMGF) team regarding assistance and arranged a food parcel. Concerned about Gina’s well-being, Lee also discussed the situation with the RotherFed team.

Although Gina’s issues were quite out of control and Gina was in a high state of anxiousness, we were able to help and put some measures in place which no doubt will make a substantial difference.  Gina was in a much better state when she left then when she arrived, we provided her with a Winter Warm Pack which she was thrilled with.

Later, Gina reached out via text, apologising for the delay in contacting us due to phone credit issues. She had reunited with family temporarily and receiving meals from them. She expressed gratitude for the assistance provided and acknowledging the time and effort spent addressing her issues, Gina conveyed her appreciation for us going above and beyond. She apologised for her behaviour in session, explaining the overwhelming nature of her struggles, including recovering from pneumonia had caused her great distress and she felt that nobody was willing to help. She was so glad she entered the library that day and is grateful to Lee and the team who didn’t just dismiss her with a leaflet.  Lee didn’t leave it there and went on to arrange a conversation with the Rotherham Council digital team to see if they could help her with a Data Sim and also checked in to see if the help was coming through. Gina was thankful and once again thanked everyone for their kind support.