A FORMER teacher and talented artist, who has battled confidence and mental health issues, is getting his life back on track thanks to a European Social Fund and Big Lottery-funded project in North East Lincolnshire.
The man, to be known as G, 58, of Cleethorpes is one of a dozen people who are being, or have been, supported by Greater Lincolnshire MOVE, which has a three-year lifespan.
The team at VANEL, (Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire), is running MOVE in the Grimsby area and is in a unique position to offer participants volunteering opportunities with some of its 21 partner third-sector organisations.
MOVE adviser Peter Hewson meets unemployed people looking for such support, either through referrals or by visiting the Job Centre in Grimsby every Tuesday, between 2.30pm and 4.30pm.
Once engaged participants are supported by Peter and matched with an appropriate volunteer organisation, which in turn, allows the person to build up skills and confidence.
“Becoming a volunteer is an excellent way to demonstrate personal growth and development, increase self-confidence, and obtain up-to-date references,” said Peter.
“This is particularly important as many people who are unemployed, especially those who have been unemployed long-term, find themselves struggling to find work because they don’t have suitable character or professional references. Furthermore, volunteering is a great way to meet new people, enhance a C.V, and gain relevant ‘work’ experience in a field that a person may be interested in pursuing as a career in the future,” he added.
For G, this has proved to be a lifeline, as he looks to build a new future. While he is the first one to admit he still has a long way to go, he knows he is now in a far better position than he was two years ago – and he is increasingly positive.
“I had reached a point in my life, about a year and a half ago when I thought it was time to get my life back on track and this project sounded tailor-made for people like myself, who have problems with self-confidence and belief,” said G.
The former art teacher with experience in the care sector as a support worker, G lost his way when he experienced life changes and he fell into unemployment.
“If you have been out of work for a long time you lose your confidence, it is easy to slip into that state of mind. Earning a wage is something I really want to do, and I know that may be a way off yet, however MOVE and the volunteering has brought structure and purpose back and it is important that people like me know that there are organisations out there that can help,” said G.
So far G has volunteered with a number of charities including the Museum at Immingham, and helped out on volunteer activity days, while building his IT and social skills.
“On several occasions I helped to man stalls at events. For me to do something like that was amazing, if someone had said to me that I would be standing there and chatting to visitors, I would have said ‘no way’. MOVE has helped me come to terms with the changes that have happened in my life, which is so important when you lose your sense of direction,” added G.
For more information about MOVE and how you can get involved, contact Peter Hewson at peter@VANEL.org.uk or alternatively you can call on 01472 231123.