I’ve come along way in the past couple of years.
When I first moved in, I was staying at Clarence Place and started to volunteer at Solas Cre8 and with the MEGA team, working on allotments and gardening. I also volunteered externally, working outdoors which is what I enjoy.
However, I got into trouble with paying my rent and was evicted for rent arrears. Even though I had nowhere to live, I carried on volunteering and talking to staff. I spoke to the manager and arranged to pay off my arrears every 2 weeks, so I moved back in with Solas.
Volunteering with Cre8 in the shop helped me to build my confidence with facing the public.
I also became a member of The Loop Network (service users who get involved with helping to shape the Solas service) and took part in the Interview Panel Task Group. This also helped me with my confidence.
I joined the MEGA Team and volunteered every week. I enjoyed this as I like to be outdoors working and getting plenty of fresh air!
I linked in with the Employment Team who helped me with changing my name & getting the identification I needed to start work and I kept going to my Working Links appointments. Soon I had 3 interviews!
I got the job as Park Ranger, Streetscene, Newport City Council and started as litter picker in Tredegar Park and after 2 weeks I was transferred to Beechwood Park where I am able to use all the equipment to keep the park presentable to the public. I cut the grass, use the strimmer, the blower and do the weeding in between.
I like my breakfast breaks and use the cafe in the park. If you ever visit the cafe, I recommend their apple pie! I eat a lot more now and feel healthier and more confident.
It’s buzzing to go to work because I’m not on the dole anymore and I get paid so I have money in my pocket. I’m proud to be in work. My contract ends in October and I hope they will keep me on.
If I were to give advice to anyone who has just moved in or is supported by Solas it would be to take the support, get involved and get yourself into gear!