Anthony came to Mustard Tree after facing many obstacles in his life, including ill-health, bereavement, and homelessness. His experiences had left him lacking in confidence. Anthony joined The Freedom Project, with two goals; to help other people and to get back to his old self…
In 2010, Anthony was working at a supermarket bakery and living with his wife, when he began to experience complications with Diabetes. Anthony’s ill-health caused feelings of depression, which had knock-on effect on lots of aspects of his life. Anthony left his job, separated with his wife, and found himself struggling.
Anthony began staying with family members – firstly his mum, and then his sister. Unfortunately, Anthony’s mum passed away and his sister shortly followed, leaving him homeless on two separate occasions – “I wasn’t registered at my mum’s, so Manchester City Council told me ‘You’re basically homeless’” Anthony says. “Some other members of my family, I don’t get on with and they didn’t want to know. I ended up sofa surfing. I was here there and everywhere, staying with friends”.
After 12 years of homelessness, Anthony made the first step to get himself back on track – reaching out to The Job Centre and signing on to receive benefits, for the first time. “It was scary. I just felt embarrassed, because before I’d always worked”.
From there, with the support of Motivate, Anthony joined The Lab Project, a programme designed to boost the confidence of people who have been out of work for extended amounts of time.
At the end of Anthony’s time on The Lab Project, Megan, a Mustard Tree Freedom Coordinator, visited to explain what the Freedom Project is and what it could offer. “It really opened my eyes – I thought that’s 100% for me”.
Anthony began training on the retail work stream in December 2021. “When I came here, I felt so warm and welcome – I knew I was in a safe environment, and around nice people. I jumped at it straight away because that’s what I wanted to be around. I didn’t want to be around negative people because I’d been there”.
With the support of the Mustard Tree Team, Anthony was able to build on the confidence he’d gained through the Lab Project. “I did have some confidence, but it grew even more so, at Mustard Tree”.
During his Freedom Placement, Anthony and his wife reconnected and got back together, and after 6 months on The Freedom Project, he was offered a paid placement with FareShare.
“This job at FareShare feels very rewarding for me, because I can see at the end, they’ll be other opportunities. It makes me feel better that I can work for an organisation that helps other charities, and I’m part of that”.
In July 2022, Anthony graduated from The Freedom Project, after securing work and achieving the personal and employment goals he’d set. “Without Mustard Tree, I don’t know where I’d be now” says Anthony. “I learned here that people are people, no what they go through in their life. They’re all human beings, everyone deserves a second chance”.
“If I can do it, anyone can do it”.