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Helen Donovan - Moving On Experience

As I cast my mind back to the Summer of 2019, I can quickly recapture the feelings I had then. Life was at a standstill, I felt I had done it all, married at seventeen, reared a family, ran a business with my husband and worked in retail with a multinational store for thirteen years. Busy all the time, I always was last, so self-care wasn’t a habit I had ever developed. Now at fifty-eight I felt redundant in every aspect of my life.


All I knew was that I couldn’t remain in this place of waiting. I had to think of something. A friend suggested that I attend the Moving On information morning in Aras An Phobail in Tralee. No further explanation given. So full of trepidation I made my way in there, and there the change started. I met “the two Lisa’s”, lovely women full of kindness and understanding.


And an assortment of other ladies, some of them had completed Moving On and were a great endorsement for the programme. A programme to help us hone our skills and gather more to enable us to get employment. Did I want a job?? I wasn’t sure but felt at least that this would point me in the right direction. I put my name forward for the interview process.


And for the first time in a long time I came away feeling that now I might have options, new things to explore. And once the ball started rolling it was like a rock coming down a snowy mountain, ever getting bigger. More and more opportunities, week by week. Personal development, computer courses and brilliant motivational talks from business people. Forever planting seeds of possibilities in my mind.


It became so easy to be open and honest with “our” Lisa’s because they were open and honest with us. I have discovered so much about myself that was buried along life’s way. I was encouraged to get involved in everything, to take part in the Christmas Craft Fair with my crochet and with endless support for my writing. I love “scribbling” as I call it but never felt it was very good, but I have been given so much support and encouragement that I feel I want to concentrate on this now and see where it takes me.


In February of this year Moving On facilitated us in doing the STEPS course with Dee Keogh. This has been another amazing journey of self-discovery and I would encourage anyone that gets the chance to do it. It is impossible to describe STEPS but it is enough to say that I found me.


It gave me permission to believe in myself and my self-worth. Now I have tools to enable me to enjoy life and be kind to myself. In March everything came to a standstill with the arrival of the Covid 19 pandemic.


Life will never be the same again but sometimes change can be positive and I feel I was never as well prepared for isolation. Covid 19 didn’t stop the Moving On.


We got the same support and information only differently, via Zoom connection, (God Bless technology) with the Lisa’s and our newfound Sheila, an amazing gentle, super-efficient addition to the team. Alone, yet together it all has made a remarkable difference to my mental health and the way I am able to deal with other challenges in my life.


Moving On is so much more than finding a job, it is nurturing and encouraging our abilities, to believe in ourselves and our value. It has given me back my self-respect and my desire to follow my dreams, to take care of myself and to start to love myself.


So, to everyone who has been part of my journey since Summer of 2019 and that first anxious morning, I say thank you all. It has all been so worthwhile. I now belong. I have been gifted an amazing opportunity.

Moving On Women Kerry
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