Dancing down the Yellow Brick Road

I sometimes feel like Dorothy skipping along the Yellow Brick Road – a completely different person!

I sometimes feel like Dorothy skipping along the Yellow Brick Road – a completely different person. My confidence has grown!

In 2019, Jo was struggling with the impact of a sudden illness that had left her severely disabled, unable to work and full of self-doubt. She had also experienced hate crime with verbal and physical abuse. In her ‘Building Your Confidence’ course, she initially felt overwhelmed. But as the course continued, little sparks of determination began to fly. 

"The old me would have loved lockdown. I’d have hidden myself away and enjoyed not speaking to anyone. For most of my life, I was told by others that I would never amount to anything. That nobody would ever want to employee me. I was painfully shy. It took a long time for me to let people in. When bad things happened to me, I wouldn’t tell a soul. If anyone ever paid me a compliment, I’d be out the door in a flash. Surely, they were talking about someone else?   

The WEA helped turn that round. I’ve really come out of my shell. I’d be put on the spot and made to talk about myself – something I’d never normally do. I realised that other people faced the same situation and felt rubbish about themselves too. I wasn’t alone in this. We just helped each other through really.  

I'm surrounded now by people that I trust. I sometimes feel like Dorothy skipping along the Yellow Brick Road – a completely different person. My confidence has grown. If you’d said to me 18 months ago that I’d be running my own charitable organisation, Everyday Enable, I’d have never believed you. But here I am, doing it every day.  

There’s so much going on now. I’m a trustee of another new charity called Second Chance Ostomy Yorkshire, sole Chair of Selby Big Local and working for Selby Abbey to improve their access. They say things come round full circle. I’m now running a taster session on Disability Awareness for the WEA and I’ve created the Diversity Gameshow for the WEA Festival of Diversity.  

Launching my own charity wasn’t an easy decision, all the same. The creeping doubts came back. Am I worth it? Would anybody listen? But I’m so glad I did. I’ve always said, if I can help one person find confidence, then that’s enough. To know that I have helped others come through the situation I faced is absolutely incredible."

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