James’ story

James worked for a company in event management but lost his job due to the COVID pandemic. He was living overseas with his partner, but the relationship became abusive and he needed to leave, so he moved back to Hemel Hempstead.

With no one to turn to, James moved into The Elms hostel and was allocated a Key Worker to help him get his life back on track. At this time, his confidence was very low and he suffered with anxiety and depression.

After a few months, James was offered a place in a Move On property with two other DENS clients. One of the flat mates was attending the Bike Project and convinced James to give it a go.

In the time that has passed, the Bike Project has made a huge difference to his life. It has given him self-belief, and he has learnt valuable mechanic skills. He has also learnt how to work with customers, after previously feeling he would never have the confidence to work in a customer-facing environment.

More importantly, the project has given him the opportunity to make friends and to feel part of something useful again.

James mentioned to the team that he has some graphic design skills, so they encouraged him to help with the new branding for the Bike Project.

“This meant everything to me. To do something which makes an impact is amazing. I was so excited to see the new branding for the Bike Project.”

He describes the support he has received as unparalleled and that it feels like a second home.

“I feel much happier within myself. I found something I could relate to and get my head stuck into.”

Working closely with his Key Worker, James was recently allocated and moved into a council property – a huge milestone in his journey with DENS.

He has also engaged with another volunteering opportunity at Electric Umbrella in Hemel Hempstead, supporting learning disabled people through live, interactive music experiences.

James is currently searching for employment, and says “The Bike Project has done a lot for me. I feel like I could easily tackle a job now.”

DENS will continue to offer James regular support through the Resettlement service, until he feels ready to live fully independently.

Story published 3rd March 2023. 

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