Nathan* moved into a YMCA hostel when he needed somewhere to stay. At that time he had made some suicidal attempts, and was regularly visiting a mental health ward. He says, “When I first came to YMCA I didn’t want or expect change. I assumed I would be just moved along and forgotten. To be honest I felt I was on my way out.”
Initially Nathan was in shared accommodation but found that a struggle. He was moved to a different YMCA hostel and once there was encouraged to meet with the Learning & Engagement worker who helped him to build a bike from donated spare parts. During this time they talked about other opportunities. The YMCA worker arranged a meeting for Nathan with the local countryside rangers who offered him regular voluntary work.
Nathan continues the story, “Since then I have completed 500 hours as a volunteer. I’m currently doing a Level 2 Diploma in Environmental Conservation and GCSE Maths. I have also received an award for Young Volunteer of the Year in my town. I have achieved my own personal goal of not being re-admitted to hospital and I’m keeping on top of work and college. My confidence has improved and I don’t feel as worried about things.”
Looking ahead Nathan plans to complete his Diploma and GCSE courses and continue volunteering as a Countryside Ranger, hoping eventually to find full time employment. Nathan is now described as a hardworking, conscientious young man. His employer and tutors only have positive things to say about him and his award as Young Volunteer of the Year was truly well deserved.
As he says himself, “I have a structure and routine to my life now. I am busy most days – it’s so much better than being sat alone in my room with my thoughts.”
His advice to other young people is, “Perseverance is key.” Nathan is certainly proof of that.
*Photo posed by model