Before joining the project I didn’t have much in the way of regular activities in my week – I had been living in a care home and was mostly staying at home and watching TV! I joined the Freedom Project so that I can gain some retail experience and get something useful on my CV. When I go for a job I want to have the skills to impress them.

I’ve gained experience working in different roles at Mustard Tree in customer service. I’ve enjoyed working with the team and been able to try my hand at different roles, including reception, managing referrals, office support and supporting sales. I’ve also completed a Customer Service course which helped me learn about best practice.

I’ve benefited from making new friends at Mustard Tree. Before coming here I didn’t have many people I could call good friends. In the first week of joining I made a good group of new friends who have been great to get to know and people I feel I can trust and rely on.

One of the things that has helped has been joining the weekly art class. I joined this at the beginning of the programme and haven’t missed a week! I have a creative streak and used to draw before starting on the Project. However, the art sessions have given me new inspiration and the opportunity to paint on canvas which I’ve never done before. The class is a great way to get to know others on the project in a relaxed setting. We support each other and you don’t feel judged if your art is not a masterpiece!

Since joining the programme I definitely feel more confident within myself. I used to hide myself away and was extremely shy – I’m now much bolder and more confident! I also feel accepted for who I am – this has made a big difference to me.

I am working towards getting my first job. I hope that being at Mustard Tree will help me develop the skills and experience I need. I’m looking into career options and considering becoming a beautician, which would be a great link with the art and use my creative side.

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