Community Engagement at Ara

We have recently begun to offer our housing clients sessions with our new Community Engagement Broker, Zak Syedomar.

Below are two great testimonies from our housing clients who are being supported by our Community Engagement Broker.

Lorna’s Story

Community Engagement client Lorna

“I did not know Ara offered so much. Since moving into Ara accommodation only 3 months ago my life has improved greatly.”

Lorna is interested in writing but was unable to pursue her hobby for many years due to her addiction and lack of education, having left school at age 15.

She goes on to say:

“My support worker in Ara introduced me to Zak, who is the Community Engagement Broker at Ara. He helps client get into courses, voluntary work and assist clients [with] education and learning skills.

“I still cannot believe I have a career coach, I have a laptop to study, provided by Zak, to do my writings. My career coach also got me a dicta-phone in order for me to translate my poems and store on my laptop…I am now enrolled on an English course at the age of 59 years old. I am back in school, I still cannot believe this, it’s amazing. I have been supported all the way without judgement or fear of looking stupid or being embarrassed.”

She advises anyone thinking of contacting Ara for help:

“It’s not just about being clean and sober, most importantly it should be about being a productive member of society and community. Please connect with Zak and learn more. We came to strive not to just live.”

Congratulations to Lorna for her hard work in recovery and for pursuing her passions!

Vanessa’s Story

Community Engagement client Vanessa

And another positive success story; Vanessa is an Ara client who has mapped out a new career path for herself with the help of Ara’s Community Engagement Broker, Zak.

“I have started to think about what I wanted to do in my remaining years for work. I previously worked in the NHS as nurse/Matron role.

Vanessa considered a return to the NHS as a registered nurse, but ultimately she decided to go in a different direction.

In her own words, she says:

“I had the opportunity to discuss my thought process with Zak, and Zak amazingly linked me to a career coach mentor from Community Learning West, who helped me get into counselling.

“My career coach helped me map how I can enter university in 2024 to start a Masters counselling course. When I was trying to navigate which courses would be beneficial supporting me, I couldn’t see the woods for the trees. Zak was there to support me in this. Zak believed in me, hence I believed in myself. I am enrolled in Foundations for Counselling at Bristol College.

My plan is to undertake a second course, Level 3, relevant to counselling and continue until further education. I plan to enrol into UWE for a counselling course… I have been provided with laptop for my education.

This service has been a lifesaver and has fulfilled my dreams and instilled confidence in me… someone believed I could reach for the stars. I feel I am capable doing this and have hope and ambitions again. This service opened my new social community of learning. I feel so much more positive about my future.

Thank you Ara for the fabulous service.”

We wish Vanessa every success on her journey to become a counsellor.

If you or someone you know is interested in receiving support, please contact us on 0330 1340 286.

Read more about our Housing Support

Self-refer to our gambling support services