Anstee Bridge | Happy Stories
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Background – I was a young, helpless teen who always, always found trouble no matter how good my intentions were! I struggled with self-confidence and self-worth and could never imagine fulfilling my dreams. I went to school every day and hated it – it felt like prison. I would struggle with school work and instead of getting help, my emotional  barrier would go up and my anger would kick in. I hated being told what to do. As teenagers do, I had a lot of self -confidence issues and hated my body and myself altogether. I got bullied at school for my weight and my looks which led me down a very steep slope.

The Problem – if I hadn’t received any help, I don’t think I would have made it to the end of school or had any sort of future. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t get any help with my self-confidence as I was on a very dark road.


The Solution – when Anstee bridge came along it was like a breath of fresh air to me. Katherine and Jason were so welcoming with their warm smiles and open arms! When I first heard about this programme, I didn’t know what to think – it was exciting to be finally picked out for help, not punishment. Katherine and Jason took their time to get to know each one of us personally and for once, someone was interested in pushing me forward.

I went to Anstee Bridge every Thursday with a whole group and we met some amazing people! We met people like artists, rugby players and tattoo artists who had similar issues and worries to us, some who hadn’t always done great but who’d turned their lives around for the better and made something of themselves. We got to do some amazing activities like canoeing, which was really really fun,  and helped teach us about our teamwork. We also got to make our own short film where we learnt so many different skills and also helped bring our group together.


I also went to the Anstee Bridge group on Monday afternoon for a girls group which helped fill our minds with self-confidence and self-worth. We met make-up artists, hair stylists, women body builders and so many more. It was exactly what I needed to see successful amazing women doing so well who had picked themselves up.


I always loved that no matter what happened, I could go to Katherine who would listen with open ears and an open mind. Katherine would just guide you through with no struggle at all and always gave you a warm hug to pick you back up, she was everyone’s mum figure. When Jason saw you were upset, he would do everything in his power to see you smile again, including his famously strange and rubbish jokes but that’s how he knew he would pick you back. That’s why Jason and Katherine are the proper power team!


The Outcome – I’m now 21 and living with my boyfriend and my baby daughter. Just before I recently had my daughter I had 2 jobs working as a private nanny and a health care assistant. I finished school but didn’t come out with qualifications and went to college for 1 year and a half but just couldn’t get on with education so I went to work as a private nanny. I now have Level 1 Health and Social Care. I have a lot more self-confidence in everything I do and I have learnt to be happy with my life choices and know that people are there to help me and not against me.

Anstee bridge has given me the confidence and self worth to move forward in my life and show everyone I can do what I want and be successful. Katherine and Jason proved to me that not everyone is against you and wants to see you fall and that they can always help pick you back up !
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Background – Before I came to Anstee Bridge, I didn’t really care about school and didn’t listen to what people said. I just wasn’t interested in anything.


The Problem – I was on the verge of being kicked out of school when I was referred to Anstee and if that had happened, I would never have gone to college or got a job as I just didn’t have the motivation. I guess I would have just been hanging around with the wrong people and I know that I would have probably got myself in serious trouble.


The Solution – When I joined Anstee, at first I was withdrawn, unmotivated and lost but Katherine helped me to open up and start talking and getting involved in things. At school, there was so much pressure and it was all focused on academic school work which I struggled with. But at Anstee, there is more than that – as well as working towards qualifications, Anstee also taught me life skills such as communication skills, study skills, motivation and to dream about my future. Anstee taught me to deal with life situations and has given me a social education.


The Outcome – It is because of Anstee that I wasn’t kicked out of school and I lasted till the end of year 11. In fact, Anstee helped me get into college which at the time seemed impossible. I am now working in retail and I have so much to thank Katherine and Anstee Bridge for.

Anstee has given me skills for life not just for school. I know that Katherine is still there for me even now I'm 19. I don't think I would be where I am if it wasn't for the support, love and care I was shown at Anstee and for their continual belief in me and my abilities. Thank you Anstee Bridge.
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Background – Before The Anstee Bridge programme I was… finding it difficult to settle down to do my work, always wanting to have a laugh with my friends.


I got called into a meeting at school I thought I was in trouble but I wasn’t – there were Katherine and Jason here to talk to me about the programme and that’s where the journey started…


The Solution – Anstee Bridge was great – something to look forward to. I never missed a day. There were so many activities, trips and lots of other things to do and I took part in activities that I didn’t think I could do before, like singing in front of a big crowd, taking part in helping at Fulwell school and coming across different people like Jim who helped me sing. We met a cartoonist and a body builder, and learned about hairdressing and dancing. I did the London transport project to go along with the exhibition, showing off my art and the creative side of me and all the skills I have, and much more…


The Outcome – Today I am a confident young woman who works and who has the go to do well in life, no matter what is to come. Without Katherine and Jason and the team, I would not be the person I am today.

Anstee bridge gave me confidence in myself through everything I did there, it got me involved and taught me how to work as part of a team.
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Background – Before I came to Anstee bridge was I getting in trouble at school and was constantly being an idiot.


If I didn’t go to Anstee then I would have got nowhere with my education. They would have chucked me out and I would have nothing good going for me. I felt I wasn’t good at anything.


The Solution – The thing that helped me the most at Anstee bridge was the all the amazing support that I was getting from Katherine and jason. the small group was great and i learnt so many life skills and job interview skills. I also was in a play through Anstee called Trench Stories which was the best bit as my confidence really improved. I really enjoyed the acting so much.


The Outcome – I’m at college now and I am studying sport and active leisure level 1 BTEC Diploma. I would not be here with Anstee and the support I got there.Anstee showed me to work hard and keep believing in yourself and your abilities and to follow your dream

The thing that helped me most was all the people around me especially Katherine & Jason and I enjoyed it a lot and owe Anstee so much.
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Background – My life when Katherine reached out to me was struggling, I felt like everything around me was failing; I had no motivation to make it better.


The Problem – My mum was battling long-term depression, my dad was recovering from a heart attack and my school attendance had suffered from the time off I needed to deal with all this. On top of all this education welfare were prosecuting my father because of my poor attendance. I felt that my school gave me no support, or not enough of what I needed. If I hadn’t woken and noticed the hole I was digging myself, I would have ended up in a pit I wouldn’t have been able to get out of.

The Solution – I remember meeting Katherine for the first time, her happy face and caring nature left warmth that I will never forget. When she explained the Anstee Bridge Programme and what I could possibly be a part of made me eager to join. Just knowing I had the opportunity to turns things around for myself, this made me want start right away.


I feel like the support from Katherine and Jason was the best part of the Anstee Bridge Programme for me, knowing that I had two amazing people that knew my potential and were going to make sure that I succeeded in every task they put in front of me; they went the extra mile that I needed. Media was the subject that I wanted to study and Jason reached out to a friend of his who ran a famous theatre in London and got me work experience for a day, this is just one of the things that helped me achieve as much as I did in such a short time.


The Outcome – After leaving Anstee Bridge with 100% attendance and confidence under my belt I went on to study Media at South Thames College and completed the course with a Distinction. My second year I went to Kingston College to study Film and TV Media and completed the course with a Distinction Star.


I am now 23 years old and I am an Assistant Manager, soon to be Manager of a Successful Timber Merchant in South London. I still get use my Media skills I have gained by helping a friends in a local studio, I love to help others how the Anstee Bridge Programme Helped me.

I feel like the support from Katherine and Jason was the best part of the Anstee Bridge Programme for me, knowing that I had two amazing people that knew my potential and were going to make sure that I succeeded in every task they put in front of me; they went the extra mile that I needed.
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Background – When I started the programme I instantly fell in love. It’s such a welcoming atmosphere. Katherine takes on each and everyone one of us as her own.


The Problem – I didn’t really ever attend school and things were not looking good, so the staff at Chessington Community College and I agreed it would be a good idea if I joined this programme to boost my confidence and let me try different activities.


The Solution – The support I got and the help from Katherine herself as a person are what helped me.


The Outcome – Because of the help I’ve had from Anstee Bridge, I was able to do an apprenticeship with Headmasters hair salon. I then went on to work in a school kitchen, as a catering assistant. I’m still not sure on what the future holds and what I want to do in life, but without the help from Katherine and Jason, I wouldn’t have the confidence to try new things.


I am still in contact with katherine and i know I will have her support forever and she gives support for everyone. Without anstee bridge i don't like to think if where i would be now.
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Background – Me and my brother had a really tough childhood as my mum and dad broke up when I was 9 and my dad moved to Spain for 2 years as he couldn’t handle being away from my mum. Me and my dad had a really close relationship so was really hard for me being away from him. As well as this, a couple of months after my dad moved away, my mum became a victim of domestic violence from her new partner. Me and my brother both witnessed violence towards our mum which made us worry about leaving her alone, which resulted in our education being affected. A year after my dad went to Spain, things got worse and my dad had to return to take me and my brother into his care or we would have been taken into care by the Local Authority. We ended up moving to Iver in Buckinghamshire, and I was living between my mum’s and my dad.


The Problem – If I hadn’t been put on the Anstee Bridge Programme, I most probably wouldn’t have any confidence and would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t have been able to get into Kingston College, as I hadn’t attended school and left altogether in year 10.


The Solution – Tolworth Girls suggested it was a good idea to give me a part-time timetable and put me on the Anstee Bridge Programme, which I attended twice a week.


The Outcome – I am living at home now with my Mum, boyfriend Aaron, my brother and his girlfriend. I have just started a new job at Elmbridge Council, and previous to that was a carer for the elderly with a care agency. I couldn’t be happier now and still believe a big part of who I am as a person changed at Anstee Bridge.


Anstee Bridge helped me a lot – more than I could ever have imagined something could change someone as a person. I started the programme with no confidence at all. Where I was living in Iver at my dad’s, I had to get the bus to Kingston just to attend Anstee Bridge. I got on well with everyone on the programme which was a good thing to have, and gained such a strong relationship with Katherine Greening, that I felt I was able to speak to her about any problem I had and as I was living at the time with my dad and brother it was just nice to have that extra person to talk to. Katherine is the main reason I have got where I am today, as she got me into Kingston College to study Hairdressing, which at the time was a big passion of mine, and gaining experience in hairdressing. I managed to get an apprenticeship which then concluded in me having a good reference to change jobs and have that as a reference for any future jobs.


Throughout the programme, my confidence grew and I began to felt positive about things. I won the Jack Petchy award at the end of the programme and look back at how much I learnt throughout being at Anstee. Even 5 years later, I still know if I ever need to speak to Katherine she will always be there for me, and I can’t thank her enough for changing me as a person and making my confidence grow.

Katherine is the main reason I have got where I am today, as she got me in to Kingston College to study Hairdressing which at the time was a big passion of mine. After gaining experience in hairdressing, I managed to get an apprenticeship which then concluded in me having a good reference to change jobs and having that as a reference for any future jobs.
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Background – When starting Anstee, I think it’s safe to say I was in a vulnerable place. Whether it was school, my attitude or my emotions, I got myself into a position which resulted in having to attend a pupil referral unit instead of mainstream education. My grades weren’t to a high standard and I started to get caught up in trouble which caused everything to slowly turn towards the worst. I was digging myself a deeper hole as time went on and felt there was no way back.  I lost all motivation, my behaviour became careless and I began to suffer with depression. If it wasn’t for Anstee sweeping me up, I honestly don’t quite know how I would have got through it.


The Problem – Although I was academic, my overall mood caused me to overlook all of my actions and decisions, doubting myself about  how well I really could do if I put my mind to it. I constantly felt like a disappointment, but instead of trying to make things better I did the opposite and had bad attendance, exclusion, isolation, but nothing would get through to me. I had support from my family and close friends, yet I felt so alone, so ended up pushing them away too.


The Solution – Anstee was my get away. It’s a chance to feel listened to, valued and most of all included. Anstee had so many amazing experiences to offer, from magicians to circus acts, making music to creating life-like projects. Every opportunity allowed each individual young person to learn and grow in so many different ways. There are so many memories which I’ll take away with me, but my personal experience would never have been the same if it hadn’t been shared with Katherine Greening. Practically my rock, Katherine was there through it all. Whether it was tears, laughter, anger or stress, she kept me going.


The Outcome – After Anstee, I was referred to Smart Training to attend a traineeship for 16 – 24 year olds to help find work experience or employment. I was interested in childcare as a career path, but as I gained experience within the role, I realised it wasn’t for me,  so tried sales as an apprentice at Smart Training. I then got employed by the company in February 2015, studying a level 3 diploma in sales and telesales, as well as taking my level 2 Functional Skills in English and maths.  A year or so on and I am now level 3 qualified in Sales as an Account Manager, preparing to begin my level 3 management qualification.


I believe everything you go through turns out to be either a lesson or a blessing but it makes you a hell of a lot stronger in the long run. Anstee was the one thing that helped me understand and think about what I wanted for my future. It gave me the support to find my feet by escaping all of the things that made it hard. Anstee gave young people rare opportunities which allowed us to see progress in our growth throughout the programme, it really was an amazing experience. Anstee Bridge will always mean a lot to me, the difference I have seen it make to myself as well as others is unbelievable and I can’t thank the team enough.

Having someone to support, reassure, motivate and encourage you is a blessing and I can't stress how much Katherine helped build me to feel ready to make that change.
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Background – Before Anstee Bridge came into my life, I was merely existing instead of actually living my life, caught up in a very miserable and vicious war within myself. I battled with anxiety and depression alone and this was the loneliest point in my life so far. It was a daily struggle to wake up and get out of bed every morning. Most nights, I would not even sleep at all and I would starve myself to create a feeling other than being completely numb. On top of this battle, this was also around the time that my GCSE’s were approaching very fast.


The Problem – I had reached a point of finding even going to school impossible and I would have panic attacks every single day at the thought of going in. This was without even thinking of revising for exams. The worst part was feeling isolated. I could not speak to anybody because they just didn’t understand. They assumed my excuse was trying to get out of school. When I would hear this, it was almost like a kick to the stomach because I wanted to learn, in actual fact I loved learning and my levels were mostly very good. But I couldn’t physically be in a classroom and focus on my work without spiralling into a state of panic. I would get constant reminders that my attendance was atrociously low and told “pick yourself up and get on with it”. I did try so hard but I continued to fall harder. Trying to make somebody understand something that you can not even fathom yourself, is incredibly hard. I was so overwhelmed by life, I started giving up.  If life had continued that way for me with no help, I would certainly not be here today.


The Solution – Anstee Bridge was definitely my turning point. Upon attending, I soon started to realise that I could get better. I could not possibly pinpoint one aspect of Anstee Bridge that helped me the most because I believe everything about Anstee bridge contributed together to make my experience so amazing. I had Katherine to talk to and she put in touch with help that I desperately needed as well as helping at Anstee bridge activities. The arts and expression influenced me to let my walls down and just be myself. It may not sound much to some people, but being entirely introverted when I first joined Anstee, this was huge progress for me. The activities we took part in allowed me to let go and just have some fun. Every single activity I genuinely enjoyed. I was also able to focus on and pursue my hobby which is writing. I was always offered opportunities to write different things to contribute towards our projects which made me realise I should not put myself down about absolutely everything. I really do admire the amazing staff at Anstee Bridge, they work with each individual student to identify their aspirations and goals for the future, doing so without the pressure that can be overwhelmingly present at this point in the students lives.
The support I received from Anstee was incredible and so reassuring. It made me realise I was not alone. I couldn’t possibly put into words how much support is involved in the programme, it is always there without fail. I believe that is the most important thing, to feel that you can speak to somebody whether you are unsure of something, having a low day, or needing help with school work.


The Outcome – When I left Anstee Bridge, I passed exams and then went on to work. Looking back at how broken I was before starting, I never would have dreamed I’d be where I am today. Anstee Bridge helped me conquer my demons and gave me the guidance I needed to build my path towards a happy future. For that, I will be forever grateful. Anstee Bridge and the staff involved will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Thank you Anstee, you saved my life.

You'll always get the help and support you need. You are never alone. Anstee Bridge was definitely an escape for me, I could be having an extremely low day but as soon as I walked through those doors to the smiling faces and warm welcomes, I was instantly relaxed. With the stress of school and my demons, having Anstee Bridge a couple of times a week brought so much positivity and hope to my life that I really did not think was possible.
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Background – Before I started Anstee bridge, everything was pretty much hell. I was struggling so much at school, I couldn’t focus. I had been moved to a school for children with behaviour issues. I shouldn’t have been moved, I only needed to be moved because of horrible circumstances which had happened a couple months previously which led to self-harm and extreme depression. I didn’t want to be at school, I just wanted to stay home. No matter how much my mum or teachers told me I had potential and how smart I was, I did not want to be at school.


The Problem – If Anstee Bridge hadn’t given me the opportunity, I have no idea where I would be right now.


The Solution – What helped me the most, was the escape from reality. Katherine was like a mother to me, the whole time I was there, I felt so welcomed and warm, she always has a massive smile on her face – it’ so comforting there. The support I received was so overwhelming and still is to this day – I wish I was still there. Most of the pupils that went there I knew outside college and school, so it is nice to have a catch-up.


The Outcome – Now I am a full-time single mother to a beautiful 2 year-old boy. When I was heavily pregnant I popped in and saw everyone at Anstee and even then, they were so supportive of me, all wishing me good luck and telling me to come back once I’d had my child.


Anstee also had a night school, which I went to with my child. It was just so lovely coming back and seeing everyone’s faces and even my little boy enjoyed it.

Anstee bridge had genuinely changed my life around, turned into a better person and most of all healed me from a trauma that I had gone through. If Katherine, Jason, Gary and everyone hadn't been there, it doesn’t even bear thinking about where I would be right now.