I spent about a year living on the streets, during which time I used to eat at Mustard Tree’s soup runs. Soup runs were about the only time that I was able to eat. I got to know a lot of the volunteers from Mustard Tree, and they told me about the Freedom Project and that it could help me get back on my feet. I realised I didn’t have anything to lose: I get on with people and I wanted to help others as well as myself.
In my old job I was bullied by my manager and I wasn’t able to deal with it very well. He squashed the confidence out of me. When I started volunteering at Mustard Tree I was really quiet and wouldn’t say much, but now my confidence is back and I am happy again. Since becoming a Freedom Project volunteer, I have also managed to get myself off the streets and into my own flat.
Being in Mustard Tree garden was my favourite volunteering activity as I love being out in the fresh air, working with my hands, and chatting with the other volunteers. I was asked to supervise new volunteers in the garden, which gave me a real boost as it made me feel wanted and valued as a volunteer. I really enjoyed looking out for people and guiding them.
I found the job club interesting, and I also accessed a number of employment programmes through Mustard Tree and Business in the Community. Visiting different organisations as part of these programmes was really good for me: speaking to people from all different types of backgrounds helped build my confidence back up. As a result of all this, I am now in part time employment. I’m hoping to increase my hours, but to still have time to volunteer at Mustard Tree, as I want to help the people who helped me.