Jemma is a customer at a Look Ahead service in London that supports people with mental health needs. She enjoys getting involved and supporting her fellow customers as a service mental health champion.
I’ve been a customer at Look Ahead for around two years now. It’s been great so far. I can live how I choose to and manage my life more independently.
This is the first time I’ve ever had a flat of my own, a place to call home that’s all mine, with my own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and lounge, I feel so happy. I got to choose my own furniture, and I now have a lovely wooden unit, a table, chairs, and a sofa, to enjoy. I found the unit myself. I decorated my flat too. It’s bliss.
I live in a good location, it’s close to everything I need. I get on well with my neighbours too, some are Look Ahead customers, but others aren’t. I usually get on with everyone and take care not to disturb them. I like listening to music at home with my speakers, but I think of neighbours too, and ask them to tell me if it is too loud for them. I’m happy to say we’ve never had any problems.
It’s not just my neighbours that I get on well with either. I also volunteer as a mental health champion and support other customers where I live. I’m there to help new customers settle in, I chat with them and make sure they feel comfortable. I speak to customers about their concerns, ideas, and suggestions for improvements as well. I then share their feelings with management, but I never mention customers’ names, I always keep it confidential. They often feel more comfortable speaking to me as we have had similar experiences.
Sometimes, I lead activities too, I love art, especially drawing cartoons, and I’ve donated art supplies to the service, so that everyone can enjoy them. I enjoy taking part in other activities too, we have a film club, and our weekly walking group where we go for a relaxing walk in the park.
I have good friends who I go for coffee with, and, being a keen Arsenal fan, I love being on our service’s football team. Competing in tournaments with services from other organisations is great fun.
Look Ahead makes sure customers like me get a say, and I’ve joined in with quality checking and the Tenant and Landlord Panel. We share our views on what we like, and how we think services can be better. It makes me feel listened to, it makes me feel heard.
I’m content here.