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Carol Barwick – Raising the Roof with Raise

I’m Carol Barwick and I run Raise: communicating confidence which is a project where I create and run creative sessions to improve people’s self-esteem and confidence.
As a little girl my mum suffered from severe depression and when I was 9 she was moved into hospital for the mentally ill where she stayed for a year. Over that time, and the years that followed  I discovered two essential things; a heart for other children that needed self-esteem,  confidence and support as I did;  and a desire and ability to create things to keep me (and sometimes them) going, such as songs, stories and poems. This caused me to be bullied but it also gave me a determination to keep going.

I believe that my faith in God to make people feel valued and loved even at that young age made me as brave as I am now.

One of my life goals since my teenage years was to work with street children in Guatemala- having seen a film my Pastor had made while over there. Having studied creative writing and music at uni I eventually became a teacher, and in 2002 I was able to fulfil the goal of going to Guatemala during a gap year with The Toy Box Charity. Whilst over there I wrote songs and created resources such as puppet scripts and stayed with the charity another two years until I met my husband.

In 2005 I moved up north where I took a job as a church children’s worker. Over the nine years that I worked there, many more resources, schools materials and songs were created and I formed my first choir. Raise became known across Bradford for doing good things.

In 2012 I fell pregnant with my son and in 2013 he was born a few months before my mum passed away. Life changed forever that year and the following year having tried and failed to go back to teaching, Raise was created as a business with the church’s blessing.

Over the last 3 years I have built up creative sessions where I daily see children and adults starting to value who they are and what they have to give as they attend the sessions. I run three choirs, three pre-school story sessions and deliver transition work in a local primary school, coupled with some youth work at the feeder High School.

What drives me now and every day is the knowledge that there are people out there every day who do not realise how important and special they are, and the job that they could do if they only realised that. Young and old alike can make a real difference if given their chance to shine, I want to make that happen for everyone.

Carol is a member of our Wakefield Board.