I was referred to Mustard Tree by my Job Centre adviser to help me gain experience for the work place. Before starting on the Freedom Project I spent most days cooped up in the house and would often drink heavily. I was out of work for 5 years. I had a few jobs working in a factory but nothing really stuck.

Since joining the project one of the things I’ve benefitted most from is the support of staff. I’ve been able to get help with receiving food parcels, sorting my benefits, and reducing debts. I’ve also been able to access counselling at Mustard Tree which has been a real help to how I feel about life. On a practical level, I’ve completed a Food Safety level two course, and I’ve managed to reduce the amount I’ve been drinking substantially.

When I started on the project I literally had no confidence. I was drinking a lot – probably around 12 pints each evening. Now this has been reduced massively, and I try to keep it to the weekends only. I’m feeling healthier by walking to Mustard Tree each day and I love being part of a positive working environment in the kitchen. I’m currently doing a four-week Customer Service course that will help with interacting with others in the work place.

My main goal is to get back into employment. I’d like to work in a catering role to lead on from the training and experience I have gained through the Freedom Project. This may mean a further volunteering opportunity as a next step; I would also like to gain a further training qualification to help me progress.

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