Success Stories

Kath Parry - success story

Kath is a true example of a WMAD success story. Despite a tough childhood and having to deal with numerous health problems and losses later in life, Kath has battled and has come out on top. Kath’s confidence was severely knocked but owing to participating in our courses and role shadowing, she was able to find her voice.

“I didn’t really have a life until I was 11 years old, but things changed when I got taken into care – that’s when my life really started. It was my foster mum who taught me the values I have today.

I never went to college and I had my first job at the age of 14 working in a cafe. It was in my early twenties when my health started to really deteriorate. Amongst other problems, I was diagnosed with ‘spinal synosis’. I had to give up work and became depressed. After a bad few years I met my partner Peter and we have been happy together for many years. 
At 25 I had my daughter Beth. I was 7 months pregnant when we moved into Bonymaen. I didn’t know anyone in the area and felt very isolated. The health visitor suggested I join a mother and toddler group and began parenting classes with Sure Start – through that I began helping out on courses to support new mothers.

I faced another barrier when my mother in law sadly passed away. This was a tough time mentally, I found I couldn’t go out; I couldn’t speak to anyone. It was at this point that I first heard about the Engendering Change course from a friend. At the first class I wasn’t even able to speak. But I fought my nerves and continued to attend.”

“The Women Making a Difference courses helped me get from having no voice to the voice I’ve got now and I feel that I can do anything”.

“After Engendering Change, I went on to do Women into Public Life. I was very scared on the first day because I had never done well in school. I didn’t believe that I was good enough for University. I was terrified, especially of Jan, the University tutor – she scared the life out of me!

But I found that I COULD do it. I remember doing my first presentation, crying and not speaking above a whisper, but I didn’t give up… And Jan was so proud and supportive of me.

Role shadowing at Bonymaen Community First was a great experience and I learnt so many new things about the community which I hadn’t known before.”

“I had lost my identity along the way; over the years I had been a wife, mother, carer, friend… but now I finally knew what I wanted to do, I found me.”

“I tell people about Women Making a Difference because I think so many women in my community would benefit. It helps you focus on what you want to do, where your weaknesses and strengths are and how to overcome them.

My confidence was so low but now it’s coming back up again. As well as being Chair of my local Food Co-op, I’m Vice Chair of the Bonymaen Communities First Partnership and a community member of Bonymaen Kids Play Initiative. Furthermore, in 2012, I passed my level 2 NVQ English. Women Making a Difference helped me so much to progress in my life.”

At the time of interview, Kath was applying to become a School Governor for her daughter’s school. She has since been successful in the application and is now enjoying this role immensely.