Opportunities to learn new things and skills - Alison's story Alison's story At Elfrida the rich diversity of our projects can lead to unforeseen and wonderful results. Alison was introduced to Elfrida by her friend Suzanne, who recognised Alison’s talent in art and introduced her to the Elfrida Siren Art project. Workers at Siren quickly realised Alison had great talent and encouraged her to keep at it. As her confidence grew, Alison started to investigate other things on offer. Alison gained confidence in other skills and a passion for helping others. “I started volunteering at the computer drop-in, helping people to learn about computers. I showed my peers how to use software to do creative work, using tools to create images. I also volunteered as a photographer, taking photos at the Wild Bunch disco.” This quickly led onto other interests developing - “At the time I was starting to go swimming, and enjoyed it, so Susanne suggested I come to Elfrida Sports. Ian and Max had lots on offer and I decided to try badminton, a sport I hadn’t played since I was at school. It was a lot of fun and I was good at it. Our coach, Wayne, said I had a natural ability—it was the first time I had ever been told that! “I became a committed member of the badminton group, and Wayne helped me to learn different techniques and shots. Ian saw my progress and recommended me for a coaching course. Max and I did the course together, both of us learning new skills and how to teach them to others. It was a big challenge for me, especially some of the written work, and there was a lot to do to show that I could coach people well. I was very nervous on the day of our assessment, but everyone was very supportive of me and I passed! Now I’m a qualified badminton coaching assistant, and I volunteer my time helping others who come to Elfrida to learn badminton. This kills two birds with one stone: I am helping others while learning new skills myself, working towards my level 2 coaching qualification." “I came to Elfrida to broaden my skills, broaden my horizons, and try to better myself. Also to make better use of the skills I had already. I have achieved a lot with the opportunities and support available here. I feel that my life has changed thanks to the good advice and encouragement I have received. My confidence has developed like a flower, growing and branching into different areas. I am now doing an English qualification, which will help me with the next stage in my badminton coaching, and my confidence continues to grow.” Alison is involved in volunteering her skills and passion at Elfrida’s Cricket group, Wild Bunch and internet drop-in.