North West of England

Ben’s Takes His First Steps To Success

Ben in library

Before joining Groundwork’s Steps To Success programme, 31 year old Ben from Leigh had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. He just knew he wanted to change it.

With limited work experience since leaving school, Ben seldom ventured out of the house and relied on his family to get him to and from places. He lacked confidence and his social interactions were mainly through his phone and gaming. On the rare occasions when he spoke to people, he wouldn’t make eye contact.

First steps

Ben heard about the Steps To Success Programme through Leigh Jobcentre. He told his mentor Viv that there were a number of things he wanted to do that he felt would improve his life. For example, he wanted to apply for a provisional driver licence and learn how to drive, but he didn’t even have any photo ID. Viv helped organise a photo and also spoke to the Job Centre, who agreed to fund the cost of the application, which was then sent off to be processed.

Gaining work experience

Ben was interested in catering as a career, but had no previous experience. He was enrolled in “The Wigan Hub” to explore catering opportunities and has since been registered to complete an online Food Hygiene course.

In order to get some valuable workplace experience, Ben was also encouraged to try volunteering.  He was introduced to Gemma, one of the managers at the Homeless Support Project (HSP) in Leigh. He began helping out with the breakfast duties one morning per week and by the following week was making his own way there by walking. He has now completed four sessions.  Ben says; “Going to new places and meeting new people felt really awkward at first but I am really glad I did it. Volunteering has really boosted his confidence and helping others makes me feel better about myself.”

I am now doing more for myself, which has helped me feel more confident and also improved my health.

Next Steps

Ben plans to continue volunteering at HSP and get involved in making meals. He has also kept up his walking. This has not only improved his fitness, but also made him more independent and less reliant on his family to drive him around.

Ben Says; “Viv and the Steps To Success programme encouraged and helped me to try out new things. I am now doing more for myself, which has helped me feel more confident and also improved my health.”