The weekly job club first got me interested and through the door. I was signing on at the Job Centre and I was finding it hard to get work. I also wanted to volunteer my time and do something positive. The Freedom Project was a good way to do both. My main aim was to find work and save enough money to return to live with my father in Jamaica.
I had not had work for several of years. Volunteering on the project built up my confidence again. I found that staying at home in your own four walls can imprison you. Being on the project, I realised that getting up and having discipline did me good, physically and mentally.
Through the project I got one-to-one support around budgeting as I had never properly looked at my finances before! This helped me to focus on where I could save money. I also had the opportunity to meet a mentor each week, who helped talk through how I was getting on and kept me focussed on my goal of gaining work.
Since starting the project my confidence has grown ‘1000’%. I now believe I can do things, whereas before I was always questioning my ability. My mental health and eating habits have improved, and I’ve learned to discipline myself in order to make life better. Through the project there was a network of people who supported and cared for you, which made me feel stronger.
I left the project after only eight weeks, as I managed to get a job. I’m now working for Viridor, at a recycling plant. There’s lots I gained from Mustard Tree which I use in the role. It’s still a challenge – it’s physical work and I have an hour’s journey each day.
However, I’ve learned to have a positive attitude and enthusiasm for all that I do, and to take the positivity that I’ve seen from others and make it an everyday part of my life.
After a long time of being out of work, I’m now able to save up for my future and to return to join my dad in Jamaica. He’s not well and I can’t wait to be with him.