I started to become a selective mute near the end of Primary school, and it got drastically worse in High school. I think it developed as a way to cope with my social anxiety. It got to a point where I wouldn't eat in public, talk to anyone or show emotions. Even looking at people’s faces or eyes I couldn't manage.
ETF has helped me immeasurably over the past few years. Not only have they helped me gain qualifications that I missed out on in High school, but they've helped me to speak and gain more confidence. I can eat in public now thanks to Ronnie, and my speech is much better than it was.
I still can't speak unless asked a question or look at people and make eye contact. But I think ETF has set me on the path and given me an opportunity to improve over time, when before I'd have never been able to.
I'll really miss them when I leave.
You can’t just live your life off benefits.
You can’t live your life off living off other people. it’s never going to be the same, you’ll never be as happy.
I live independently, and I love it.
Everything I have is mine.
“I was so bored before I came to Eat That Frog! I’d just get up, go on the internet, play computer games…It sounds okay but after a while, it gets really stale not having any focus to life. I’d gained a Diploma in Digital Applications and Level 3 Creative Media at College, but hadn’t had any careers advice so I couldn’t see a way forward. I had no luck finding work on my own, so felt stuck, and lacked in confidence.
I started at ETF doing Admin/ Reception and helping learners with their computers. It was a good use of my skills, and a real boost to my confidence to be responsible and in charge of things. The environment was very friendly with some of the most amazingly kind and generous people I’ve met. It was so nice to integrate and get along with the staff and also get the experience and skills I needed.
The real high point is that ETF helped me get the right job - an apprenticeship with South Devon College, working on the computer support desk. Now I have a decent job, and the chance of further training. I’m going out more and meeting people face to face, and so excited for the future.
When I joined ETF in September 2017 I had been out of education for a year and didn’t really know where I was going in life after suffering with anxiety and depression for years.
Having been at ETF for over 6 months now I’m much more confident, I’ve recently been discharged from CAMHS and in September I am going to college, after getting my GCSE results, to continue my education and hopefully continue on to university.
James started with Eat That Frog in November 2017 after struggling at College. He was studying Hospitality and Catering but was finding learning in a large group very difficult and was being severely bullied by students on higher level courses in the same department.
James had low confidence and felt uncomfortable around other people, but since attending ETF James has come out of his shell, improved his confidence immensely and built strong friendships with other students. He will be leaving ETF this year with his NVQ Level 1 in Food Preparation and Cooking, and is currently undergoing a 4-week work experience at the Grand Hotel with the prospect of being offered an Apprenticeship with them. James will also be leaving with a fiancé he met here at The Pad!
James really enjoyed his time with ETF and wishes he could stay for longer; he suits the relaxed learning atmosphere and thinks it is much better than College. He has fond memories from this year and is grateful that he gained a routine and a reason to leave the house in the morning.
He’s now looking to the future and feels more confident he will succeed in the catering industry and have a purpose to life both professional and personal - all thanks to Eat That Frog.
Mark came to Eat That Frog at a young age – he had recently moved from Bath and was living in a hostel with his Nan. He’d been out of education for several years because of severe bullying and was “drowning in misery”.
Since joining us 3 years ago Mark has been studying Catering – he progressed through the Award in Catering then completed NVQ level 1 and 2 in Food Production and Catering and improved his Functional Skills.
Over that time Mark has also built great friendships - he has grown in confidence and is now able to socialise with friends, which he could never imagine doing three years ago, but he can now go out to the shops alone. For him, this is a massive achievement - and he’s justifiably pleased with his progress.
Mark’s highlight at ETF was looking after Mary J, an elderly customer from the Over 50’s lunch club; he’s also enjoyed making cakes for functions, including birthday cakes.
Mark says he’s less miserable now and leaves ETF every day with a smile on his face. He’ll be staying with us next year but moving to the Torquay Centre to develop his new passion for Photography by studying Digital Media with Functional Skills. He’s excited to see what next year holds and is looking forward to being in a new centre and meeting new students.
Sam joined Eat That Frog in September 2017 after struggling with the pace and workload of being a level 2 student at College. From the beginning of term Sam was eager to learn but faced a few challenges due to lack of focus and fear of failure. Having built up his confidence in his work and supporting him through his tougher times we have been able to see Sam shine to become a focused and confident student.
While at Eat That Frog Sam’s living status has gone from living in care to independently living in shared housing in Newton Abbot. During this process staff assisted by building up Sam’s independent living skills, including clothes washing, cooking, personal hygiene and budgeting.
Sam has successfully completed his City and Guilds NVQ Level 2 in Food Production and Cooking, doing work experience in-house with our Over 50’s Lunch Club.
Sam is now actively looking for full time employment and has worked with our employability tutor and employer engagement tutor to improve his C.V. and cover letter, and to practise his interview skills. Sam has been helped to apply for jobs in Newton Abbot and has already been offered several interviews. Good luck Sam!