Young people’s stories: Kearnie, 21, says ‘I’m living proof St Basils works’
14 DEC 2016

Kearnie (pictured), aged 21, said:

“I came to St Basils, over a year ago, because I was in a bad way, I was about to give up on life. I’m partially sighted and gradually losing my sight. I will be blind eventually. I was suicidal and I was put into a mental institution to help me recover and that worked, but while I was there I was evicted from my home. I was with Redditch Nightstop for a while, they helped me get in here.

It was a lot to go through but it proves the system works and I’ve come out the other side better for it.

St Basils has done so much for me, it’s hard to put into words....

When I first came here I didn’t even know how to change a bed, but that was one of the first things I learnt how to do but since then I’ve learnt a lot more practical living skills.

But it’s much more than that. As my support worker will tell you when I first came here, I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I wouldn’t engage, I was so shut down, but now after being here and receiving all the support I’ve received, especially from my support worker, I’m out nearly every day doing job interviews and job searches and soon I’ll be having my move on meeting to move on to independent living in a flat.

Being partially sighted the job interviews haven’t gone too well but I haven’t given up. You either mope about it and do nothing or you get on with life.

With help from my support worker I’ve done St Basils Life Skills course and I’ve done courses with the Princes Trust.

At St Basils I’ve also become the Resident Rep which means young people can come to me if they have any problems and I’ll speak to staff on their behalf and ensure things get sorted at the project. I’ve helped with fundraising for Redditch. The staff and residents did a bag pack and I was on the info stall all day and explained to everyone who came to ask, what St Basils is all about. I’ve been involved in some gardening as well to keep our outside area nice and we’re got a training room now, although we need to do a bit more decorating. I came up with the idea that we could get some canvases to put on the wall and involve all the residents, get them to put their vision for the future on the canvas.

Just recently too, due to us now having the new training kitchen, I’ve started taking part in cooking classes as well. I’ve learnt how to make Chilli Con Carne, Spaghetti Bolognese and Flapjacks.

These courses and just being busy has definitely helped me a lot. There was a time when I was so down I started to become pretty dependent on alcohol but I’ve been clean for ages now. I’m doing better things with my life. My supporter worker is trying to help me find a Mechanical Engineering course that could take me. We went to see a potential college together.

I’ve always loved mechanics. Ever since I could stand I’ve been helping my Dad fix parts of his cars. He taught me how to change brake pads, I can strip an engine and change a tyre. I’ve always liked using my hands and being up and active instead of sitting round doing nothing. That’s when I get bored and start to slide again.

I’ve always been sporty too, I like rock climbing, zip wires, swimming and I’m now involved in a wheelchair basketball team.

My support worker Dee often takes me out as part of my support meetings because she knows I like to be active. I think she goes above and beyond her job description. We go for a walk and she can get things out of me that not everyone can, not even my Dad (who is my rock).

She helps me see the better side to things; the more positive route and it’s thanks to her encouragement that I’ve got involved with courses at St Basils and she really pushed me to continue and finish all three modules of the Life Skills course, she was always ringing me up, checking on my progress. But I understand why she does it, it’s because she knows it will benefit me. I graduated that just recently and I really enjoyed that ceremony, it felt really special.

In the future I’m hoping to settle down somewhere in the country. I would love to be able to get a house somewhere with my partner and a bit of land, and keep a couple of horses, because I love horses and horse riding. They’re so therapeutic and relaxing.

I feel much more optimistic about the future now and like all my dreams are achievable. I’m living proof the system works.”

Again due to national austerity measures, our Worcestershire schemes are also facing possible cuts and are in need of more support. To find out more about the work of these schemes please see St Basils in your area or to help now please see our donate page. Thank you!