“I have come a million miles from where I was, no doubt about it. This place has done Better for me than the anti-depressant tablets!”

Ian was an apprentice gunsmith, which ended after 6 months due to not being suitable. He had experience in farm work, worked as a labourer, had lots of driving jobs and took part in multiple schemes such as St Margery Hospital, Brooklyn Technical, and Urban Wildlife.

He had to take care of his mother, who suffered with dementia, by himself for 4 years before she passed away. His severe anxiety led him to withdraw himself from socialising and working and he became vulnerable.

When he heard from Support Staffordshire about a volunteer role at COGS, he went in for an interview and chat to Brenda and started coming in. He was getting back into being around people and socialising; he was slowly becoming used to being around people again. He loves gardening but lacked the confidence but we very soon realised his talent for gardening.

Shortly after he had started, we discussed with him if he would like to join the Evolve program and signed on since he was eligible to join.

As his skills progressed, he began leaving offsite to work on the contracts with the gardeners. He had wanted to become a support worker and began taking the role towards those who needed the extra support. He found it challenging but still enjoyed taking care of them nonetheless.

He moved into a new flat on his own which was a challenge for him and is adjusting to his new life style.