“Mustard Tree has always been a family. It’s an amazing place. You don’t get that feeling in a lot of places. The biggest difference I see is that I have my confidence back. Before I didn’t believe I could do half the things I’ve done and doing now.”
Clint had a difficult upbringing, losing both his father and sister when he was young. When he first came to Mustard Tree in April 2017, he had been unemployed for 17 years. He was feeling increasingly isolated and struggled to see a future. Thanks to the opportunities at Mustard Tree he found his confidence to apply for a trainee support worker role at Mustard Tree- and got it. He now works with and motivates people who come to Mustard Tree to move forward in life.
Before coming to Mustard Tree, Clint was living life day by day:
“I went through quite a hard and disrupted upbringing. When I was younger, my dad and sister died in a fire, I also suffered with severe epilepsy. I had been out of work for 17 years and was becoming increasingly reclusive and isolated. I was just sitting in my flat, smoking weed to cope. I had got in a rut and was not looking forward. The longer I was in that situation and not working, it got harder and harder to move on.”
People find out about Mustard Tree in many ways, in Clint’s case his local Job Centre advisor recommended he come and see what Mustard Tree had to offer.
“The job centre said Mustard Tree was something good to get active and involved in. I’d never heard of it before. Originally, I really didn’t want to but I forced myself to try and after the first week, I loved it. Every day I was there got better and better.”
Clint decided to join Mustard Tree’s Freedom Project, a program where volunteers can join the team across the charity, including our kitchens, retail, administration and warehousing to gain skills, alongside the opportunity to take part in courses and classes.
“I chose to get involved in the retail side, even though I’d never done it before. The staff here gave me the confidence because they believed in me. I met so many new people and you don’t realise how much it helps to put yourself out of your comfort zone.”
Mustard Tree’s Freedom project is a place of opportunity. Taking part in meaningful volunteering activity is not only somewhere to make friends and build networks, it’s also a place to learn skills and find your confidence.
Part of the opportunities on offer are work placements with partner organisations across Greater Manchester, many lead to paid roles in the future. We even offer three 12-month paid roles at Mustard Tree to our Freedom Graduates, on our helpdesk, in our creative arts and a trainee support worker role. When a position became available – Clint knew he had to apply!
“When the Freedom Support Worker job came up at Mustard Tree, as soon as I heard about it, I knew I wanted to apply. When I found out I got the job, it felt absolutely amazing to tell the Job Centre that I had finally found work. By getting my job at Mustard Tree I feel like I’ve come full circle in seven months and achieved a huge goal in being fully employed after such a long time.
Clint is now using his experiences to help others.
Every day I wake up happy to go to Mustard Tree. In my job it feels so good to help others, it really gives me meaning. Not long ago I was where they are and I can show them there is a way out so they can have the self-belief to make changes for themselves.”