Ellis and Sophie’s Story
After tragedy struck, Emma and her two children, Sophie (11) and Ellis (10) found care from TLG Early Intervention (EI) partner, Christchurch Clevedon, of immeasurable value. Emma’s husband Kev was a military man. Unfortunately, Kev’s health quickly declined out of nowhere and he became blind, had a stroke, couldn’t talk and was paralysed. “Life involved a lot of heartache because my husband had been very ill for a long time,” says Emma.
“Bringing two children up while trying to care for someone so ill was tough. The children needed help which I just wasn’t able to give. I wanted to do right by my kids but my husband needed me all the time.”
“School was a real struggle because both kids had a trauma diagnosis,” Emma continues. “They couldn’t concentrate, they lacked focus, their brains weren’t in a space to be able to learn so they were falling behind. So when the kids’ school said that TLG could help us, it felt like it was the answer to what we desperately needed. TLG became an extension of me.
“Tragically, not long after we began being supported by TLG, Kev died.”
“I felt angry at school,” sighs Sophie. “I really struggled with my friendships and my confidence.” Ellis was unable to manage his emotions which led to him getting into trouble at school. But things changed when they both began coaching with TLG Early Intervention coaches, Gerry and Helen.
"The days that Gerry came made school feel much happier. It really helped my behaviour because I had something to look forward to and I would get sent out less." - Ellis
"It relieved stress. Before TLG, I didn't really have many friends so I would sit and watch everyone else play. I'd just be by myself and think about things. Helen was someone who was always there for me. She was like a best friend." - Sophie
Emma nods. “The kids were really happy to see their coaches. It was something special for the children because it was their time to be listened to. They needed that space to express themselves.”
Coaching made a huge difference to Sophie. “One of my treasures is the last present I got from my dad,” she says. “He took me to Build-a-Bear and I chose a teddy. He recorded himself saying ‘I love you Sophie’ so I can press the bear’s paw and hear him again. I took my bear in to show Helen. We talked about my dad in my coaching sessions which was really helpful. I used to be behind at school but now I’ve caught up,” Sophie grins. “Helen says I’m thriving now and that’s how I feel.”
“The kids changed, they calmed down,” continues Emma. Ellis says: “I used to feel all alone. I would crawl up in a little ball under my bed and just hide. It was a huge relief when Gerry came along. Things weren’t so hard for me anymore and I’m more open to being myself now. I don’t get so angry now and Gerry’s helped me to see that I can be myself and take myself away from situations when I need to.”
During lockdown, the same church responded to the crisis by supporting the family through TLG Box of Hope – delivering emergency food and wellbeing parcels. “That doorstep chat and feeling of community was so key,” says Emma. “The burden of managing a tight budget with two children was a struggle, but when that parcel would arrive I’d find what I’d been needing – and a friendly face to speak to knowing that we weren’t, and still aren’t, alone.”
During the hardships her family have faced, Emma has connected with a verse from the Bible from the book of Isaiah, chapter 40 verse 31:
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.