Confidence & Motivation
Through her involvement in Routes To Work’s BOOST events, however, she quickly came out of her shell to take on the role of “leader of the gang”.
When she first engaged with Routes To Work, she developed a close relationship with skills facilitator Eddie Burke as she looked to improve herself.
Donna, from Coatbridge, knew she needed support with her mental health, motivation and some issues surrounding anger and frustration.
Attending the BOOST events - which took place every Wednesday for four weeks at the Time Capsule - Donna’s confidence quickly improved.
By her own admission, Donna McCaul is shy.
She said: “I had a great interaction with everybody, the group was great.
“At the beginning, everyone was dubious to go in because you didn’t know anybody, but when we all got in and found out a bit more about what it’s about, Eddie explained it all to us.
“It was really insightful.
“I did mindfulness, an anxiety workshop and wellness. We covered loads and loads of stuff.
“We had somebody from North Lanarkshire council in and found out about different events and courses that were coming up.
“It helped me with my temper, anxiety and frustration. It gave you that wee inlet to stop and think before you react.
“There’s always a positive out of a negative.”
Designed to help our clients work on their motivation, wellness, control and self-confidence, the BOOST events brought people from all backgrounds together who were striving towards different goals.
Local partners like North Lanarkshire Leisure and the NHS North Lanarkshire Mental Health team were also brought in to discuss topics like physical fitness, anxiety and holistic therapy.
Dubbed “the leader of the gang” by Eddie, Donna quickly set about improving herself with these tools, but also helping others come out of their shells.
Donna’s mental health and anger issues abated and she worked on her physical health with a gym membership.
Donna also undertook an REHIS qualification in emergency first aid at work and within a week - remarkably - she saved her neighbour’s life.
When her sister had a heart attack, she also knew what to do.
“We did a first aid course and a health & safety course,” Donna added.
“Without them, a couple of things that happened after, I would never have been able to do without the help of the skill zone that Routes To Work put us through.
“It was absolutely fantastic, we all loved it and really paid attention to get to the end of it and pass.
“A few weeks later, my neighbour phoned me and said she couldn’t get her son-in-law woken up, that he had a really bad chest infection.
“I only stay across the road, so it was straight over to try and get him up out of the bed and breathing properly.
“The ambulance came after only seven minutes and without having done the first aid course, I’d have never known what to do. I’d have probably been panic stricken.
“I don’t know where I’d have been without the first aid course and I’m ever so thankful for it.”
Despite her progress, Donna’s physical health means she’s not quite ready for full-time work. However, she’s working towards it.
She has been offered a couple of shifts as a first aider with a local company, has done a health and safety course and has also started an level 4 award in mental health and wellbeing.
Most importantly, though, Donna has grown in confidence because of BOOST.
She set action plans for herself during the course - with one being to phone Clyde 1 and win the radio station’s Cool Ride to School competition.
Amazingly, Donna won and took 18 of her neighbours’ kids along with her, (equipped with Routes To Work bags!).
Donna certainly lived up to her ‘Community Queen’ tag, given to her by the Daily Record who ran an article on her exploits upon winning the competition.
Donna added: “It was 45 minutes of total manic, mayhem and it was absolutely fantastic.
“It’s a day that every single one of those weans will remember.
“The first kid was at my house at quarter past six and we weren’t getting the bus until quarter to eight!
“It was fantastic.”
She added: “I think everybody’s noticed a change in me.
“I’ve got more confidence, I’m not as, like, held in. I can talk about stuff a wee bit better rather than not wanting to talk.
“Now I can do it because I want to.
“My goal is, once I’ve got my health in order, to actually get a full-time job because I can’t just always be there for everybody else.
“I’ve got to start thinking about myself and my health.
“I’ve got the want to do it, not just that I have to do it.”