When Lisa started on School of Hard Knocks’ Adult Course, she felt as though she wasn’t doing anything with her life. She spent her days alone inside her house and had few people to talk to which impacted negatively on her mental health and caused her to develop poor self-esteem.

Lisa happened upon School of Hard Knocks by chance after seeing a flyer advertising our Adults Programme. She has loved rugby for as long as she can remember, so thought the course would be a good way to get out of the house and do something she enjoyed – she had no idea of the positive and lasting impact that the programme would have.

“I played rugby and I pretty much wasn’t doing anything with my life so I thought I’d join the course. At first it was just the rugby I was interested in but then it became about so much more.”

Lisa had been on many courses before, but none quite like SOHK's. On the previous courses she had been on, she felt as though she had just been talked at and told what to do to make her life better. For Lisa, these courses felt impersonal, impractical and lacking in any understanding of individual needs and circumstances.

Going into our SOHK’s afternoon workshops, Lisa anticipated a similar type of experience, but found the sessions to be wildly different. She immediately felt valued and that she was truly being listened to. Instead of being told to change her behaviour, she was being empowered to, and was shown how to make positive steps towards improving her circumstances and mental wellbeing in an encouraging and supportive environment.

“I’ve been on many courses and you just sit there and you’re just listening, and no-one seems to really care but School of Hard Knocks really care. The people are just brilliant, the way they speak to you, the way they listen. They completely changed the way I thought and they truly made me believe that I could do anything.”

As the weeks went on, Lisa began to feel differently about life. She felt as though there was a reason to get up in the morning and that she was finally finding a purpose. She became very close to the other women on the course and found that they understood her and looked out for her. She was no longer isolated - instead Lisa now had a close-knit group of lifelong friends that she knew she could rely on. 

With this shift in her mental state, Lisa was eventually able to open up to the SOHK team and her course mates about some of the struggles she had been going through. She had been suffering with depression and a personality disorder for some time and was in a toxic relationship that she was desperate to get out of. Before School of Hard Knocks, Lisa didn’t think it was possible to change her circumstances and didn’t think she could have the life that she wanted. SOHK managed to help Lisa dispel these negative thoughts, and with her new mindset and the support of the team, she finally found the courage to leave her relationship and start a new chapter of her life.

Just under a year later and Lisa has completely transformed. She has gone back to playing rugby and has continued to meet up with her course-mates who she regularly goes for long walks with. Lisa is now in a happy and healthy relationship and has found full-time employment doing something she loves. Not only was Lisa successful in finding a job, she came back to our next course - not as a participant, but as an employer at our jobs fair. Lisa now has the confidence to go for what she wants and believes that School of Hard Knocks has given her a second chance at life.  

“School of Hard Knocks has literally changed my life. After I completed the course I just felt really confident. I got a job, my health got better, I went back to playing rugby and now I’m actually living my life. I’m not just existing, I have a purpose.”