Young St Basils resident Tom first needed St Basils services aged 20. He said:
“When I was 15 I moved to live with my Grandad and then became his primary carer for a number of years, but in the end it just proved too stressful for me and I found myself considering suicide. That’s when I realised I needed to get help. I approached a number of housing organisations and St Basils was the one I heard back from. I came to see the room and took it that same day.
I was nervous because I knew the place would be full of people I didn’t know and didn’t have the confidence to get to know. When I first came here, I kept myself to myself. I didn’t even go to the residents meetings for the first few months. I just locked myself away in my room and did nothing. I wouldn’t speak to anyone, I’d have my headphones in and just walk away from people, but now if I bump into my neighbours I’ll have a little chat with them, instead of looking the other way, and that makes me feel better, knowing that I can talk to them, that it’s not really an issue now.
Before because I hated myself so much I just thought everyone else would too. Looking back I can see that’s silly. If I’ve had opened up people would have helped me, but it didn’t feel like it at the time.
Things started to change when I got Dee as a Support Worker. It was Dee that got through to me. She didn’t give up.
It feels like she cares about me and she’s encouraged me to get out more, try new things, not be afraid to be myself and socialise a bit more. I’m still working on that.
At St Basils you have to have regular meetings with your Support Worker and there’s certain things you have to discuss in every meeting. Dee’s encouraged me to think about my future and what I might like to do as a career and over the past 3 months I’ve been on a training course to become an engineer. (Something that’s quite cool is that the guy that ran the Engineering course wanted to do the London Marathon and now he’s doing it to raise money for St Basils! I think he found out about it because of me so that feels quite good).
Dee has definitely made me feel more confident in myself and she’s helped me with writing CVs and that sort of thing which has been very helpful. She always seems to believe in me, more than I do sometimes.
And she’s not stopped trying to find me an opportunity that relates to the skills and interests I already have. I did a Game Design course when I was at Bromsgrove New College, my skills are mainly on the CGI design side, I’m proficient in 3D modelling and she’s tried hard to find me something in that field but there’s not many openings in that line of work.
But I’m starting a tool making apprenticeship next Monday now which I’m looking forward to. It should open up quite a few avenues for me as apparently toolmakers are quite rare these days so I should be in high demand.
Before I got these opportunities I was working as a retail assistant in a corner shop. I wanted to have a job to have something to do. I don’t like not doing anything with my time. Like this week for example; I’ve got a week off between finishing the training I was on and starting the Apprenticeship and it’s just so dull. Before when I first came here, I’d rather do nothing and now I can’t. I can’t just sit around anymore.
I was very low when I first came here but now it feels like I’m right up there, it doesn’t feel like it could get much better than this. I’m happy, I’m ready for work, I’ve got a girlfriend now and I’m on the ‘move on’ scheme, just waiting to hear about a flat - I don’t know what’s left!
When I first came here I had no desire to do anything and I’d have been quite happy to sit in that room for the rest of my life but I feel like I’ve actually got a future now. I’ve got dreams again.”
Dee Neale, Tom’s Support Worker at St Basils said:
“When I first met with Tom I knew that he needed support and he looked me straight in the eye and asked for support but there were no words. I knew that I could not do anything without including him and I would have to take things very slowly and fulfil what I had promised and said that I would do, and taking that approach, it was only a very short time before he started to engage with me and I knew that he was a smart, intelligent young man with a lot to offer. I have every confidence that he will go far and make a success of his life.”