​I d​idn’t know about Mustard Tree until I was referred by the job centre. Starting at Mustard Tree felt like the first time I had ventured outside my home and neighbourhood for years. I’d been out of work for over a decade. When I started here I was nervous and didn’t have much confidence to interact with others. However, during the first few weeks I found that people were there to help and saw the best in you. Through this I discovered skills I didn’t know I had and began to feel useful again. 

Being at Mustard Tree has meant I’ve come out of my shell. I’ve been involved in lots of different activities: art classes, a boxercise class and customer service training. It’s meant I’ve had to interact with a whole range of people, which has been good for me, and built my confidence. I’ve joined the warehouse team, which is quite unusual for a lady, but I really enjoy it!

I’ve also been asked to become a warehouse supervisor, which means I help coordinate the daily operations and support other participants on the project. To be honest, I didn’t think I had it in me to help lead a team. Becoming a supervisor has given me a massive boost. I think the main lesson I’ve discovered has been to step out of my comfort zone – leaving my home and not being stuck inside. I now see a whole new world that I didn’t know existed.

Before coming to Mustard Tree I used to be at home every day, watching TV in my dressing gown, and feeling tired all the time. I used to be agitated and have a serious temper. Now that’s completely changed and I’ve discovered a new outlook on life and I’m much more understanding of others. 

Even my neighbours at home can see a change; for example I’ve been able to help others move furniture when they’ve been moving house. I now get a real buzz and a glow from helping others. So I’m not stuck at home no more – I feel like I’m getting my life back. 

So much has changed. Before I came here I wanted to work in animal care. Working in the warehouse is something I would have never considered before coming here, but I’ve discovered I really enjoy it! For the first time in a long time, I can see myself working in a 9-5 role; I would love to work in warehousing but I’m also exploring other options. Being on the project has helped me find my strengths, both physically and personally.

​I​’ve discovered I love doing what I do, in a role where I’m helping others. At the moment I don’t feel I need to get paid. Helping people is more than a reward. It’s better than a wage packet. 

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