Watch the video below for Graeme's story.
Watch the video below for Emma's story.
I approached The Cart Shed during a difficult period in my life when I was struggling with a new disability (Long Covid), the bereavement of losing my father for whom I was main carer, PTSD from one traumatic experiences when I was ill with Covid and a recent adult diagnosis of Autism. I had become very isolated but with the support of my mental health professional (a specialist PTSD therapist), I started attending a weekly session at The Cart Shed, having not really left home without support in two years. At first it was difficult approaching others for help having had a career where I would have previously been the person supporting others. However, the staff and volunteers were so totally supportive and kind I recognised that this was a safe, caring and creative space where I could feel welcomed.
I have found during my time at The Cart Shed that I have been able to increase my physical activities and also explore creative activities whilst being part of a nurturing group. The professional staff helped me to achieve goals and prepare for medical appointments and gave me a safe space to practice skills I’d been learning in therapy
Young Cart Shed Participant
For me, I found The Cart Shed accidentally. I've been taking part for two years and I believe attending The Cart Shed saved my life when I was going through some really dark periods. I'm not sure where I'd be if it hadn't been for that support. Attending the sessions to be with other people and be able to socialise has helped me feel less alone as I rarely leave the house otherwise. I feel support from places like The Cart Shed is essential to help those who are struggling. Being in nature to connect back with the basics of life is extremely beneficial.
Being Autistic Participant
The Cart Shed has given me a lot more confidence in myself, I feel more able to stand up for myself and express myself than before. I have become more self-aware because I am able to understand myself better and no longer feel like I am wrong, broken or have something wrong with me that needs “fixing”. I am actually normal for a neurodivergent individual and I am not crazy or losing my mind, I do think and function differently to other people but I am not alone in my experiences.
Graeme’s story in words’
…But here…what this place has done has allowed me to express myself. By week three at The Cart Shed I realised that as a 44-year-old this was the first place I was able to walk into one day a week and be 100% me. I can’t do that with my family. I can’t do that at my workplace. Even though I have a fantastic relationship with my family and with my friends, there was still resistance. Here it didn’t exist. I felt normal. I felt I could come and be and chat about what I wanted to be. Before, whenever I’ve had a conversation with anybody, it was always about experiences, about things and about other people.
What The Cart Shed has allowed me to do is difficult to describe, but it’s holistic here. Usually, therapy and treatment are focused on fixing you. But this is different. It brings me together, physically and mentally and it has allowed me to connect with my friends. I’ve never told any of them that I have therapy or CBT but I’ve told people that I come here. I can say that I go to the woods. I can’t explain it to them quite like I have now, but it’s something tangible and it’s enough.
What The Cart Shed has done for me is to release all these things I feel. The fact that I’ve been able to walk in here and feel myself for the first time in my life has allowed me to be myself. That’s a simple as I can put it. It’s allowed openness and conversation and I can be myself.