Stories of Interchange – Meet Frances

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I did not believe that Interchange could do anything to get me to open the curtains, let someone into my flat, or leave the house but I was completely wrong.

Gail (left) and Frances (right) having a game of chess at the local library.

66-year-old Frances, from our Myaree Neighbourhood, told us she has been struggling with Schizophrenia since the age of 12 and never expected anything to change. Distressing thoughts, erratic behaviour and several suicide attempts lead Fran down a very dark path.

After years of isolation Fran joined Interchange 18 months ago with two major goals – living a happier and healthier life and to become part of her local community. The road to belonging was rocky for Fran. Her Support Worker Gail however isn’t one to give up easily and over time the pair have built a relationship of trust and understanding. Fran has always wanted to learn to cook and Gail, a passionate cook herself, was keen to teach her. Fran has gone from being too scared to use an oven to having a huge list of recipes in her repertoire. The hobby chef now enjoys cooking for her friends and family, who love Fran’s newfound confidence as well as her yummy treats.

Fran is now comfortably leaving the safety of her home and actively seeks fun things to do out in the community. One thing she always wanted to learn in life was chess and Gail now accompanies her to a local chess club every week. Her opponent Albert is quite the expert and even though Fran calls the rook a castle she feels like she finally belongs, is accepted for who she is and truly enjoys her life to the fullest.

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