Sarah has been unemployed for 2 years. She suffered a mental breakdown and was highly suicidal during this time. Sarah eventually went to a psychiatric ward and stayed there for 3 months until she was better. Talking about this time Sarah said: “I was in a real bad place. It got so bad that I didn’t even recognise my own family. They hated visiting me because it upset them to see how I was.”


Sarah was very nervous about the course. She’s nervous and anxious around men because of things that have happened in her past and from the pre-meet session she had a good idea that most the participants would be male. As it turned out Sarah was the only female on the course as the other female that also started, had to drop out due to health issues. However, after facing her fears on the first day she soon became comfortable with the rest of the group. On attending the first day, Sarah said: “I wanted to see if I could do it and to push myself to try not be scared anymore.”


On the second day of the Course the candidates go through the BA chamber which is a dark room. They also have masks over their faces that are glazed over so they unable to see. Sarah was petrified by this idea as in her past she had been abused. Part of the abuse involved being locked in a dark room.


Actions Taken                                          .

Although clearly petrified by the idea of entering a dark room, Sarah was determined to complete the BA activity. She said, “I found it terrifyingly scary. I wouldn’t have been able to go in on my own. Katie (one of the phoenix instructors) came in with me and made sure I was alright throughout. She was really supportive and encouraging.


“When I got out of the BA chamber I was still terrified but I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt a tremendous sense of achievement!!


“I particularly enjoyed the focus that the course has on team work. Unlike other courses where you sit and talk about teamwork, you actually do activities where teamwork is paramount. Most the activities are teamwork based. I want to go into care work and the fact my team work has improved so much on this course, will help me be successful. I’ve also left with new skills such as first aid which will be a massive bonus in the care industry!


Summary of Benefits and Evaluation Method

“This course has helped me come out of myself. It’s pushed boundaries that I have never dreamt of pushing. I’ve also made some good friends and I hope we all stay in touch!”


The only thing Sarah would want to change about the course is that she wants it to carry on longer. She would love to come back on the next course as a volunteer and says she will absolutely speak at the Pre-meet sessions at the job centre next time we run from St Austell