“I was introduced to Recycling Lives and ACE Project through probation.
“The first thing they – Jon – helped with was housing for me and my mum. We were just in a one-bed flat, I was on a sofa bed, so they got us on the waiting list for housing and a month or so later we were into a two-bed house. When they sorted that my mum said, ‘stick with them then’.
“I was working at a takeaway near my house and I’d come every Tuesday for MAP Group and that was alright.
“But I lost that job so I asked Jon if he could help. He said he could get me on Achieve (doing a paid work placement) because I was still on probation but that would’ve been a few weeks wait so he offered me some volunteering in the meantime. I started doing Monday to Wednesday in the café, just helping in the kitchen. I wanted to keep busy – it was better than doing nothing.
“I volunteered for about 10 weeks then started on Achieve. To be earning made it more rewarding, I was more motivated. But I feel like I got my foot in the door with volunteering. From there they moved me into the warehouse full-time, working on scrapping and recycling stuff.
“On about the tenth week they said there might be a job so I interviewed for it. I was really nervous but Andy, the warehouse manager, spent time with me and supported me with that. I’d got in a good routine. I like working here so I would’ve been annoyed if I didn’t get it.
“I got the job. I feel like the volunteering made the difference, it was worth it in the end. It’s target driven work, I find that motivating. And I like everyone I work with, they’re all nice. My mum was really happy too.
“This isn’t a dead-end job. You can progress here and do other things – that’s what makes me happy. I don’t feel stuck. They’ve got me in for my fork lift truck course, I’ve done my first aid, banksman, and fire marshal training already too.
“I still talk to Jon where needed, he’s a good guy. I’m very grateful to him. I wouldn’t be as happy without all the support I’ve had.”

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