Andrew from Redruth was out of work for ten years due to illness, which lead him to being in a difficult place with his mental health. After a lot of hard work and determination, Andrew has made it back through to the other side and has successfully found employment. He has told his story in the hope that it will help anyone else in a similar situation.

“I like being around people, working with people, helping people. I also have a background in business and business development.

“I’d really like to get into a meaningful job. It’s got to be a job that I enjoy, having been off work for ten years now due to illness. It’s been quite a journey so now we’re looking at me getting back in to some sort of employment that will not only pay the bills but give a personal reward as well.

“It was difficult. I went from being a bit ill and needing a few months off work, to being told I may never work or even walk again. Money was running out and I ended up in the benefit system  – that’s when you soon learn that life isn’t what you thought it was.

“It then started to affect my mental health as well as my physical health and it did get to the ultimate low at one point. It’s been a lot of work to get back from there.

“I saw no way out, but luckily, I managed to find that way out through a bizarre set of coincidences, but it just so happened that way.

“The support and help were the main things that pushed me through. If I didn’t have the support of a particularly fantastic mental health worker I probably wouldn’t have got back.

“I’ve also got an incredibly supportive family, even people I’ve run into since then have been really supportive. Part of the journey is learning to take that support and use it in a constructive way. It’s great for people to put support in front of you but if you don’t take it and run with it then it perhaps might not be as effective as you might wish.

“I’ve got all the tools now to deal with my mental health, the physical health took some learning. You have to learn where your boundaries are, accept them, and that’s a very big part of everyone’s journey I think.

“You’ve got to look at what you want to achieve and what others can help you achieve. I want to be interacting with people and if I can do this as well as helping people then even better.

“Getting back into employment would be the end of the journey for me. It’s always been my aim – I want to go back to work. I don’t want to be just existing and I don’t want to always be dealing with the benefit system.

“It will also, in turn, have an extremely positive effect on my mental health, having a bit of extra money, having the social aspect of work, interacting with people and doing something valuable.

“Positive People has been a massive help. It has put me back in touch and given me ideas to get me to where I am now. I’ve gone back to the work route via volunteer work. I would never have considered that – it was one cup of tea, one conversation and suddenly I thought – ‘Crikey, that’s a good idea!’.

“It’s completely changed my life around. Now I’m literally on the cusp of going back to work”.

Andrew is now employed by Newquay Orchards as a Change Coach. A massive congratulations to him and we wish him all the best!