Seb was 24 year old when he came to the Gateway Allotment team. He had been in foster care for many years and now lives in supported housing, he has no local family or friends and is very isolated. He has ADHD and Attachment Disorder
I was unable to see a future or that my life could be anything. I had no friends really and my family and a couple of friends lived far away… I was getting more anxious. My support worker said about the allotment and trying something new, so I decided to try.
Seb started to attend Gateway with his support worker; he was very anxious, quiet, suffering with low self-esteem and relied heavily on his support worker where he would not engage with any other clients. For two months, he would only interact with Gateway staff and even then, only when they approached him; building trust and rapport took a long time. Once this was established, Seb began to ask his support worker to not attend for the full session and to wait in her car. Bit by bit, this reduced to her simply taking and picking him up for the sessions.
Seb’s confidence gradually began to increase more and more and he began to interact with his peers – making friendships and becoming more comfortable at the Allotment. However, the more open he became, the more apparent were his needs. His attention span was extremely low and he found it difficult to complete tasks or do more than one thing at a time, including doing a task and speaking with someone. His anxiety worsened and his self esteem plummeted whenever he was asked to do a task.
However, he preserved and soon he was able to interact more with others and talk with confidence. The team made the decision to put two things in place, one where he would complete 5 short tasks per session which are quick and easily achieved and secondly, he was buddied up with a peer to help keep him on track, but also to have someone to challenge and focus him. This worked extremely well. Other clients began to interact with him more and asked him for help with tasks. Seb’s confidence and communication skills grew, and his attention span improved.
Seb started discussing volunteering, he realised he was capable of doing more. At this point he no longer wanted the support worker to attend with him and wanted to make his own way to Gateway. We supported him with looking at bus routes and then helped with looking for other volunteering opportunities.
The Gateway team worked with Seb to complete a CV and application form for a local volunteer role which he was offered. Initially Seb started working in the warehouse, and then on deliveries and collections, speaking with customers. Seb began to realise he had the ability to find employment. The team has strong links with local firms and Seb attend an open day at a warehouse – he really enjoyed this and wanted to apply for a job. The team supported him with the process and he offered the role!
You guys have given me so much confidence and never stopped pushing me and making me realise what I can do. I still have anxiety but I know I am capable to get on with my life and put things in place when I need to. I never thought I would ever be able to get a job and look at me now. All of your staff have not only helped me with my mental health but also with work and the issues with my personal life and my family.
Seb still attends Gateway when he can and offers support to others and helps them where needed, taking on more of a leader role.
Thank you for always supporting me and helping me. I am forever grateful for the help with my family and for giving me the confidence to speak to them about things I haven’t been happy with for a very long time.