The Spear programme - Heather's story

"Before the Spear programme I was in quite a dark place. About 7-8 years ago I was sexually harassed on my way to school. I didn’t tell anybody about it at the time. I didn’t know how to cope with it, and I started to withdraw and hide myself away. And then one of my friends committed suicide, and about a year later another friend also took their own life. I went into a deep dark spiral and developed severe anxiety and depression, as well as agoraphobia – the fear of being trapped or not being able to escape a situation. For me it was travelling, so when I would leave my house, I’d get panic attacks.

It was about that time I was first introduced to Spear. At that time, I was very sceptical, and I didn’t think Spear could help me. I was nervous about committing to getting there and back each day for six weeks; would I be able to not freak out, and not give up? So, I pushed it away and said no.

But this year, a text came through saying Spear was doing online sessions on Zoom. And I thought I might give that a go – I don’t have to worry about travelling there or having panic attacks. I actually enjoyed the introduction session. I found everyone there really nice and the atmosphere was great. By the second and third week I was coming out of my shell, contributing more in sessions, and pushing myself forward.

The Spear Programme has taught me that I can do more than what I thought. One of the coaches gave me a link to a paid internship with the British Museum, a position I would never have gone for six weeks ago. I would have been too scared and thought ‘what’s the point in applying’. But I have applied, and I’m going to continue applying – I’m not going to worry about whether I’ll get it or not. That’s really boosted my confidence and my self-esteem."

A big thank you to Spear and to everyone else who has come in to support us.

Heather completed Spear Online in October 2020 and we are delighted to say that, following her volunteering placement at the National Trust, she is now secured a Kickstart placement in Ealing Council’s Climate Action Team, an area she has always wanted to work in, alongside her studies in Conservation and Historical Preservation.