Jason joined Mustard Tree’s life-skills and employability training placement ‘Freedom’ back in April 2019, after being referred by a staff member at Wilson Carlisle House.
“I was down in the dumps. I had no self-esteem or confidence… I was bored”.
“I used to be in a different hostel. At first it was ok as it had people there who were a similar age to me, but then more aggressive people came and kept me up all night. They knew I had to be up for work, but they didn’t care. It really got me down in the dumps with no self-esteem or confidence – I was bored”.
Jason always like to keep busy. The organisation in charge of the hostel where he was living needed an area cleaning up, so he began helping whilst he was looking for work in facilities.
“I was a bus driver for a long time but had cleaning experience beforehand. That’s when Wilson Carlisle House pointed me in the direction of Mustard Tree.
I’ll be honest, I came to the open day thinking ‘what am I doing here?’. I’d never joined a placement like this before and wouldn’t even speak to Ellie the Freedom Coordinator at first. I’d previously been in prison and got a cleaning qualification while I was there. I spoke to Gavin who looked after the maintenance. He said I was the first person he trained up who had qualifications – which gave me a big confidence boost”.
“Ellie asked what my confidence was out of 10 – I said you better put 15”.
Jason started volunteering in the facilities team and noticed a difference in himself straightaway. After two weeks, he had a 1-to-1 with his Freedom Coordinator Ellie and have a completely different outlook to Mustard Tree and Freedom.
“I wouldn’t even speak to the office staff at the start and hadn’t talked to women in years – then the volunteering coordinator Rosa gave me a values card to acknowledge the work I’ve been doing, and it made me cry – I haven’t felt that way since my child was born.
I had a lot of compliments from Mustard Tree staff – Fiona mentioned how nice and clean the place looked and the CEO recognised me and how well I worked independently. After a few weeks, Ellie asked what my confidence was out of 10 – I said ‘you better put 15’”.
“Mustard Tree helped make my house a home – I was buzzing!”
Mustard Tree also helped solve Jason’s housing issue – signposting him into new accommodation through Riverside Housing.
“I came in Friday morning and my caseworker Ellie told me I had a flat – I was buzzing! Mustard Tree helped remove the barriers, as I would not have been accepted previously due to my criminal record. They even provided me with a furniture voucher so I could buy a new sofa from the community shop”.
In November 2019, I had an email from a Trafford-based company, asking if I could come in for an interview – I couldn’t believe it. I went along and felt so much more relaxed than previously, thanks to Gavin’s advice. I am now due to start working night shifts this month.
“I went out last week and bought my Christmas tree”.
Looking forward, Jason wants to attain his biohazard cleaning qualification and start to furnish his new flat.
“I want to put my own creative spin on it so I can make it a home. I went out last week and bought my Christmas tree! I don’t look back now, I keep my head down and it keeps me busy. I’m glad I’ve been given a second chance and Mustard Tree helped me get my life back on track – I’m very grateful for this.
To protect Jason’s identity, his name has been changed and a photograph has been posed by an actor.