I attended On Track to Achieve as part of a Kickstart programme I was doing with the RSPCA. Because of COVID I lost the job that I had in a pet shop and I wasn’t really doing anything at that stage. My work coach forwarded me various bits and pieces and when I saw the RSPCA opportunity come up, I said that’s the one for me!

When I first heard about the On Track to Achieve programme I thought it might be awful! But it turned out to be really good and along with working alongside my manager in the shop, it’s really helped to boost my confidence. I have terrible self-esteem, anxiety and confidence issues but working with Claire has given me that sense of self worth I was lacking and it boosted my confidence. Looking back I remember it was some of the ice breakers that were really useful to help me feel more comfortable within the group which in turn helped me get more out of the sessions.

The MP Mims Davies came to visit the programme one day and I was anxious about it at the start of the day. We had to do a Dragon’s Den activity and while I stumbled a little bit, I got through it all okay. If I did something similar again I think I’d be more confident as I had been through that experience already. 

MP Mims Davies with rescue cat

Working with Claire has been fantastic. She’s shared a lot of personal stories which helped me understand and connect with her. She’s really informative and has been a great mentor to have, she’s just a really cool person in general. Having an elite athlete as a mentor has been really helpful. An athlete needs to really push themselves and stick at it which I think needs determination and confidence and they can then in turn pass those skills on to people like me.

Claire Bennett – athlete mentor

Seeing Abbie grow into the person she is today who is full of confidence, who knows what she wants and understands what her skills are has been incredible. I know Abbie is going to be the most phenomenal success, not only in her role at the RSPCA but in life beyond this programme.

For our social action project we created a mural at the main RSPCA centre. We wanted to do something that demonstrated care and that feeling that everybody wants to be loved, that informed what we decided to design on the walls. Originally we were just going to paint the walls in one colour but we wanted to do that bit more.

Group with Claire in front of part of the mural.

I’m really excited that after attending the Kickstart programme and working with the Trust, I’ve been taken on full time for the RSPCA. I was incredibly happy that I’d got the job as I’d heard whispers there might be something, so when I heard I had a job I was so happy because I love working where I am and it means I get to carry on doing it.

On Track to Achieve has had a big impact on me. Listening to Claire’s story and working with her has given me a lot of confidence and taught me that I can achieve what I want to achieve. I actually ‘believe’ I can achieve things now, as long as I put my mind to it.