A Washington man, who lost a close friend several years ago, credits having a job once again as helping him turn his life around.
Stephen James, 56, experienced a breakdown following the tragedy, which left him unable to work and with little means to support himself and his family. He was completely taken aback at the way his health spiralled and soon realised he could no longer hold down his job working in retail security.
“I hit an all-time low and had no idea how to get myself out of it,” said Stephen. “The only thing that was clear was that I couldn’t continue with my job. However, that meant I lost touch with those around me, which left me feeling even more isolated.”
Although Stephen’s health gradually improved, his chances of finding work remained low. “I was truthful with employers about my health condition, but that just seemed to count against me and nobody would give me a chance. I didn’t know how to break this cycle, and so once again depression set in.”
Stephen was referred to disability employment specialists Remploy, which partners with businesses and organisations throughout the North East to give equal opportunities to people who face complex barriers to employment. Through a series of placements, working for a retailer and a hotel, Stephen slowly began to regain some confidence himself – enough to impress when he was interviewed for his new job as a Newcastle city centre Street Ranger. The service, which helps keep the city centre street clean, helps visitors and improves the look and feel of Newcastle Upon Tyne. It is managed by NE1, a business improvement district company, and delivered by facilities management company Mitie, and their willingness to give Stephen a chance is now paying dividends.
“Already I am content with my job, and would happily sleep at the office if it meant helping more people who live, work or visit the city,” he said. “My advisors at Remploy were really excellent and became my friends as well. Just having somebody believe in me meant I could start to believe in myself, and it made all the difference.”
Tariq Albassam, who is NE1’s operations manager said, “Stephen represents our city with great pride and it is a pleasure to work with him. Remploy played a huge part in helping him rebuild his life, and he’s now supporting others. He is a very capable man and we are proud to have him as part of our team.
Remploy advisor Ingrid Rayner added, “We’re all thrilled to see Stephen get back on his feet. The transformation since he first walked through our doors is remarkable, but that’s equally down to his determination to rethink everything he had experienced. We helped him understand that he was, and is, fully capable of working once again – he just needed practical and emotional support after an extended period of unemployment. The rest was down to him.”
As well as working alongside employers to understand their recruitment needs and opportunities, Remploy provides a range of focused employment services to people with disabilities and long term health conditions. For more information about Remploy’s mental health services, please visit: https://goo.gl/NGPFEx