Inspiring Stories

Inspiring Stories

Leeanne's Story

Gaining Confidence, One Step at a Time...

Leeanne has been a volunteer at the Clothing Bank at Hospitality and Hope for just over one year. She was introduced to our charity by one of the volunteers who also does some work for a local church. At that time, Leeanne was homeless and lived on friends sofas. She also had a number of health issues and was struggling to find stability. The volunteer introduced her to the soup kitchen sessions where she was able to access support for herself. This offered a hot meal as well as the companionship of others in a similar position. Soon, after receiving support, Leeanne accepted the suggestion to volunteer in our clothing store.


The ‘Food, Shelter and a Future’ Project offered the opportunity to provide training for volunteers alongside a programme of activities for our clients between July 2017 and March 2018. The training for volunteers included Level 2 qualifications in Food Safety in Catering and Health and Safety as well as level 3 qualifications in First Aid in the Workplace. Although lacking in confidence, but after some gentle persuasion, Leeanne agreed to attend one, of the three, training courses being offered to volunteers. The course chosen was Food Safety in Catering. The training was being delivered by Vortex Training, a local training provider in South Tyneside. We had decided to offer the training from their premises as it offered better facilities.


As Leeanne was unfamiliar with the venue and was a bit apprehensive about attending, the Project Lead arranged to accompany her to the venue. She was very nervous about the course, thinking that it would be like school and that she might even have to take an exam at the end. However, the desire to learn something new was greater and she agreed to attend. She knew some of the other volunteers attending from undertaking her volunteering role which made it easier for her. Feeling very nervous and apprehensive, the training began. The tutor made the learners feel at ease and made the learning fun and passing the exam at the end of the course made her feel really good. Leeanne learnt a lot at the course and even increased her levels of confidence.


She found herself challenging others on their food safety practice using the knowledge gained from the course. “I was quite proud of what I had learnt. Normally stuff would go in one ear and out the other, but not on this occasion”. That evening, she telephoned the Project Lead several times before getting a response. She really wanted to know more about the other two courses and could not wait until the following day! Very surprised but delighted, with the new determination and increased confidence of Leeanne, the Project Lead enrolled her onto the remaining courses. The trainer watched her confidence soar over the three courses.


Leeanne was making significant contributions during the course by asking questions and engaging in group discussions. Leeanne puts this down to the fact that she was made to feel very welcome in a good learning environment and was given lots of encouragement and support. Leeanne really loves volunteering at Hospitality & Hope. It allows her to give something back to others that need support while also helping to build further her own self confidence and skills. Now equipped with three new qualifications and renewed confidence, Leeanne can now explore options for her future. In February she was awarded Vortex Training Solutions Student of the Year (Short Courses) at a presentation event for the volunteers to receive their certificates. As part of her award she was given access to a free training course and is currently studying for a level two qualification in Customer Care. Once she has completed this course, Vortex Training Solutions will give her free access to other vocational training courses as well as a short work placement.



The photo used below was taken during our client wellbeing photography programme