Luke's Story:

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I got directed to Twining’s J2E service from the Job Centre because I am on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) because I had been off work for years suffering with severe anxiety and depression.

My other half suffered from severe physical disabilities. I had been on the Support Allowance for about three years because I used to be on Disability Living Allowance (DSA) and when my partner died about four years ago and after that the DSA stopped, and then there was the PIP, and I didn’t have the energy to fight for it. So instead of fighting them I decided I wanted to fight it (my depression and anxiety), fight for myself.

When I qualified for ESA because of my depression because I was in a bad way when my other half died. I was a hairs breadth from picking up a bottle of vodka and going down that route. I needed to battle myself out (of the depression and anxiety) and get myself better and back on track. I needed to get myself going.

I was very much an indoor person if someone knocked on the door I wouldn’t answer. The most I could even do was take my kid to school over the road. It’s been a very long process over three years and its just getting on with it, my kids are really what’s kept me going, after my partner died I didn’t want them to lose both of us.

Initially I went to South London and Maudsley (SLAM) for a year of therapy with them and then group work sessions with Mind and I also went to SLAM recovery. I found that really good but it’s going to end soon, and that’s quite hard. So when they told me about this service with Twining’s J2E with Nancy I was well up for it. I was hoping to get information and get my confidence from travelling to the Lewisham Library every week for our group sessions. I took my pushbike so that the journey wasn’t too stressful.

As a group I found it really easy to talk because everyone had suffered something similar because their background was filled with as much anxiety and pain as mine. It makes sense, it’s really good to talk and get things off your chest. We will discuss things about work, goals, targets, pressures all the things on our minds to help us along.

Nancy is really good at what she does. She’s enthusiastic, positive and motivated and she proves that if you want help it’s there; if you want it she will help you.

I’d never written a CV before and she gave us a two page sheet which we need to fill with our information. I have never had to try and sell myself in a profile before, I have manged to get through the education and previous jobs sections, but I find it hard to sell myself; it’s a lack of confidence, so for example I have never really thought about my clean driving licence as a skill. I thought it was useful but I never saw it as a skill and Nancy helped me see that it was for my CV. In my next session I am hoping we will look more at how to sell ourselves.

I only want a part time job, something like stacking shelves as I don’t want to much pressure or responsibility at the moment because I have been out of work so long. I feel like these are positive steps. I would say to anyone thinking about using this service they will get something out of it. I am far more positive about the future and I know I want a part time job now to get me going again and she makes you want to look at what you can do, what would be good for you.

Read more about our J2E services in Lewisham and Greenwich.

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