A service user from Brierley Court has combined his love for football and Manchester City Football Club with an employability initiative. Mark has been taking part in Imagine Your Goals, a national mental health initiative that promotes access to sport and employability skills training – while having the chance to play football.
Mark has been attending Imagine Your Goals at the Etihad Stadium three times a week for a year, and has been engaging in the matches as well as the training. A highlight has been having the opportunity to take part in a Q&A session with the first team players, which was later shown on Match of the Day.
Developing confidence and motivation
Joining the initiative and being able to interact with key players has improved Mark’s physical and mental health. “It has helped my confidence as well as improving my knowledge of mental health and I now feel physically well. It’s an excellent service and I would recommend it,” he says. “It has motivated me to try different sports – I’ve now started swimming.”
Looking for work – and finding it
Mark has also participated in Brierley Court’s vocational goals programme. This involves him being supported to develop his CV by focusing on education and work-related activities. He has undertaken various courses, including cooking, drama, music and, currently, a BTECH in customer service. Mark recently obtained a work placement with ASDA which will help him to develop his skills and contribute to his BTECH. Meanwhile, Mark has been applying for paid work, writing cover letters and developing his interview skills, job search techniques and personal presentation.
Taking on extra responsibility
When Care UK’s Mental Health division, keen to involve service users in the running of its services, invited them to apply to become health and safety representatives, Mark was quick to respond. The process involved applying for the role, attending interviews and potentially having a CRB check. Mark sailed through the process and is now a paid Care UK employee, visiting various Care UK mental health services to help with health and safety checks. It’s a superb opportunity for him to build on his vocational skills and develop as an individual and is a big milestone in Mark’s recovery journey. “It will help me in the future and it’s great that Care UK has offered me this chance,” he says.
Mark’s fun and outgoing nature has really shone through during his time on these programmes. Engaging with work and training has been invaluable in supporting his recovery, and ultimately moving him towards discharge. At the time of writing, Mark is waiting for an assessment from supported living services with a view to enabling him to move out of Brierley Court and into the next exciting phase of his life.