Good News Stories

Cara's Story

Wayne's Story

Lynda's Story

Good News Story A

Outcomes: Training, improved mental health and increased life skills

Cara was attending an event hosted by JCP where she met an Opportunity and Change Navigator, and quickly began engaging with support. Cara had been studying at university but was unable to cope and had to end her studies and return home. She was keen to re-engage with her studies, but was suffering with anxiety and depression, OCD and dyspraxia. Cara also wanted support in relation to improving her work-life balance, housing and domestic abuse.
Cara started attending Skills Plus for Change which helped her to establish a new routine, occupy her time meaningfully, and develop confidence through meeting and talking with other people. Cara also attended a Bush Craft event where she learned the basics of outdoor survival, working in groups and again developing confidence through interacting with others.
Cara’s goal was to study Criminology at degree level, without ‘failing’ as she felt she had done previously. Her Navigator supported her to apply to Nottingham Trent University, this time with additional support in place through student services. Cara was given an unconditional offer at the university, and began her studies in September 2019. She has since passed her first year of the Criminology degree, with an overall 2:1 grade. She states, ‘My Navigator helped me immensely. The previous year contained many upsets, and the coping mechanisms my Navigator helped me to develop got me through them. What helped me the most was the support I received to regain my motivation, establish new routines and develop methods to stay focused’.

Good News Story B

Outcomes: Training, improved mental health and wellbeing, reduced substance misuse

J was first referred to Opportunity and Change by Jericho House, a residential drug rehabilitation unit. He disclosed that he had struggled with substance misuse for all of his adult life, however has now been clean for over two years.

Whilst accessing Opportunity and Change, J attended Skills Plus for Change. His attendance and engagement was outstanding, making progress to have the confidence to enrol onto accredited courses.

He is now living independently in his own accommodation in which he moved into in November 2020, moving out of supported shared housing. The support from his navigator means he is able to sustain his own tenancy, he was able to redecorate and furnish the property independently. J has also been able to rebuild his family relationships that were previously fractured.

In addition to undertaking training, J also volunteered at Jericho House on a regular basis to help to support others with their rehabilitation. He covers night shifts with a large part of his role being talking to the residence to encourage their recovery. He also volunteers at a local park with environmental projects.

With support from his navigator, J enrolled and attended Derby College to complete Level 1 in Maths and English and Level 2 in Health and Social Care. The navigator aided the participant in taking out a student loan to cover the tuition costs and he is now working towards achieving a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology, with the goal of starting a career in the rail industry.

Good News Story C

Outcomes: Training, housing, substance misuse and  increased confidence and skills

Upon joining Opportunity and Change, Robert had just been discharged from hospital having been diagnosed with various health difficulties and completing an alcohol detox. Robert shared with Nicola, Navigator at Acorn Training, that he had been a chef working abroad with his family running a restaurant. He disclosed that his alcohol dependency became too much, resulting in separation from his partner, losing the business and unable to have access to his son. When his health took a turn for the worse, Robert returned to England and registered with The Lighthouse Project for support with housing and to complete a detox.

Robert’s initial goals were to learn how to use computers and retrain to teach others how to cook. With the support of his navigator, Robert explored different training courses he could enrol to, to take steps towards his goal. Unfortunately, not too long after joining the project Robert was instructed to shield from Covid-19 due to his health vulnerabilities. He received ongoing emotional support and IAG from Nicola to prevent him from social isolation and having a deterioration in mental health.

During this period, Robert was able to establish grounds to Skype his son weekly and create a make-shift gym to continue his exercise. Recognising the need for nutritional meals at his accommodation, once Robert’s shielding period came to an end, he collected donations from other residents and would cook a delicious main meal and pudding for them all to enjoy. He now cooks twice a week for the Lighthouse Project and was asked by the Project Leader if he would consider taking an internship because of his skills in liaising and communicating with the other residents.

Following further discussion with his navigator about his future, Robert decided to work towards an NVQ in Caring and Drug Dispensary. Nicola successfully applied for funding from the Vicars Relief Fund which allowed her to purchase a laptop and internet access for Robert to complete his studies, access Acorn’s online support groups and Skype his son. He now has access to his son three times a week and sees a future in their relationship.

Robert states that if it weren’t for the period he required to shield, he would’ve relapsed. He now has a whole new outlook on the future and is grateful for his second chance.