Laura, who goes by LJ, was suffering from chronic migraines and poor mental health, which stifled her ability to find work.

Having left university due to issues with depression and anxiety, LJ found work in a few different roles – including an activity leader for summer schools, a science communicator and an optical assistant at a high street optician. However, she was unable to continue when she began to suffer painful, debilitating migraines.

The migraines, which were eventually linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, were a blight on LJ’s life. Over the next two years she went through different medications and forms of treatment, which affected her ability to work and left her without a job.

LJ noticed a post on Facebook advertising an upcoming Girls Week course in Edinburgh and decided to apply. The week focused on mindfulness, perceptions, self-care and body-positivity – aiming to help young women boost their confidence and improve their mental health.

Whilst she felt anxious about going along on the first day, LJ quickly began to feel more comfortable around her fellow participants and credits the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere with helping everyone to become friendly so quickly.  

Feeling that she benefitted enormously from Girls Week, LJ registered for follow up sessions. These sessions were varied – including cooking, orienteering, trampolining and even an ‘aerial skills session’ where the participants found themselves upside down in a spinning cocoon. LJ enthusiastically took part in these activities and solidified the friendships she had made already.

She said: “Over the course of the week I tried new things, chatted with new people and felt a real sense of belonging. The chance to do something different with a supportive group in a safe environment made a huge impact on my confidence.

Six months ago, I had no confidence - that has changed hugely. I had always been a chatty person, so having that safe environment, guidance and the support of a great team meant that I was able to get that back.

LJ’s mental and physical health has improved which allowed her to start thinking about her future again and recently, she secured a role with The Prince’s Trust, through Community Jobs Scotland, working as an Operations Support Administrator.  

She added: “I’m delighted to be part of the team. The Prince’s Trust allowed me to learn and progress so much – hopefully I can help to improve the journey of some other young people along the way.”