A young woman crippled by agoraphobia has gained the self-confidence to be outdoors again after completing a Fire Service community programme.
The 21-year-old rarely left her Wallsend home before taking part in a free 12-week personal development programme with The Princes Trust.
When Charlotte Narey learned about the course, she decided it was time to face her fears and sign up.
The course entitled Team is delivered by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
Narey said: “I have been able to totally re-evaluate how I view the outside world.
“The course was such a massive confidence booster for me. It was just what I was looking for as I wanted something to help me engage more in my social life.”
“It has been like pressing a restart button on my life.”
Before the course, Narey would only leave the house once-a-week to visit her mother. Sometimes, she wouldn’t even do this and could be stuck inside for almost a month.
She had been suffering with agoraphobia since before the pandemic, starting around the time she left school.
At one point, Narey was spending months on end inside.
After deciding to move in with her grandparents, Narey heard about Team from her grandmother’s friend.
The course is aimed at young people aged between 16 and 25 years old, who might be at a personal crossroads.
Split into several interesting areas across three months, it includes a teambuilding outward bounds residential course, a community project, a two-week work placement and a next steps training week.
Throughout the course the young people also learn about first aid, drug and alcohol awareness, and take part in a variety of fire safety training activities – where they train alongside current serving firefighters.
Go here to learn more about the course.
Since attending the course last September at Gosforth Community Fire Station, Narey has never looked back.
Narey added: “A few months ago due to my agoraphobia I would never have dreamt of going outside to take part in gorge walking and canoeing with a new circle of friends. It is totally amazing!”
The Prince’s Trust and TWFRS partnership has helped over 500 young people to develop their skills, knowledge, behaviours and attributes.
Head of Prevention and Education, Steven Thomas, said: “The aim of the course is to try and provide young people like Charlotte with essential life skills that can be used to help them gain future employment, turn a corner in their personal lives, or hopefully lead to education or training opportunities.”
The Prince’s Trust urges young people to take advantage of the “vital support” the course offers, which has helped “transform the lives of hundreds of young people like Charlotte.”