“I’m now so calm in these situations”

RSBC Social and Peer Group member, Al, smiling at the camera

21 year old Al from East London has been attending RSBC’s Social and Peer groups and Employability programme for two years. He credits RSBC for boosting his confidence and giving him the opportunities to get out of the house and banish his feelings of isolation that he had after coming home from college in Worcester.

Since leaving college three years ago, Al felt that he was spending too much time at home, without friends and feeling anxious to leave the house.

Al says, “At college I had a lot of friends to speak to and I felt like I had made a lot of progress with my independence. When I went back home, I realised how much I’d taken all that for granted. I didn’t have the opportunity to leave the house as much, and I struggled to use the London tube network. This meant I couldn’t see friends from Worcester that were in London, because I had to get them to meet me and I really didn’t have the confidence to go out on my own. I felt like I was really missing out.”

Building confidence with RSBC

This all changed when Al heard about RSBC at a sight information day promoting resources and charities for blind and partially sighted people. He was intrigued by the range of activities on offer, so he signed up to RSBC’s Social and Peer groups for vision impaired 18-25 year olds straight away.

It wasn’t long before Al was taking part in activities like indoor sky diving, a blind driving day, and even a residential weekend where he gained an official qualification in leadership.

“I normally can’t stand rides, but I really enjoyed the indoor skydiving. We did a couple of flights, and the second time it felt great.”

Al enjoyed the thrill and challenge of the indoor sky diving so much, that he and a friend from the group have since returned on their own to push themselves even further.

Getting to grips with independence

Attending the Social and Peer group has boosted Al’s confidence to travel around London independently. “I really like the fact that I don’t panic now if there’s a problem on route, like assistance not turning up to guide me. Nowadays, if I hear people going up or down stairs I walk in that direction, or am happy to ask for help from the public. I like the fact that I’m now so calm in these situations, and it’s really given me drive and shown me that I can really do this! ”

Al is also pleased that the Social and Peer groups have given him the opportunity to make new and lasting friendships.  Previously relying on social media for interaction with friends, the groups have allowed him to meet new people, and Al now meets up regularly with some of them outside the group to talk about their shared love of music.

After gaining so much from the Social and Peer groups, Al decided to join RSBC’s Employability programme in 2016. When Al started the programme, he didn’t know what career options he could pursue, but with the support of the Employability team he has now identified the kind of career he wants to pursue.

 “I’ve realised I want to work with people, perhaps in counselling or as a youth mentor.”

“I’ve got a lot out of the one to one sessions. I like the fact I can talk to my Employability Support Worker, Mark, about my career options. Mark has been there supporting me to fill out job applications, and advising me on the ways my skill set would suit particular careers.” Al says the programme has really shaped his view of what work he would like to do in the future.

Reflecting on the last two years, Al says RSBC has helped him grow more confident, independent and employable. “Through RSBC I have tried activities I would never have done before. I’ve also made life-long friends, and being on the employability programme is really giving me hope for getting my ideal job in the future.”

Want to find out more about what we can do for you?

If you’d like to find out how you can improve your confidence to go out and meet your friends on your own, or get focused on your career like Al, get in touch with us today.

Just call 020 3198 0225, or email connections@rsbc.org.uk

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