When Kevin’s parents became unwell, he found it difficult to juggle his job in IT with caring for them. Sadly, they both passed away within a short space of time. This had a considerable impact on Kevin’s mental health, which started to affect him at work. His employer decided it was time to part ways, leaving Kevin out of a job for the first time in his life – which caused his wellbeing to decline even further.
Kevin withdrew from everyone and everything around him. Without the knowledge of what he could claim by way of financial support, and with his motivation at an all-time low, his rent and other bills went unpaid. After about 12 months, he was evicted from his private rented flat and found himself homeless.
After contacting Dacorum Borough Council for support, Kevin was directed to the Day Centre, who then referred him to The Elms hostel. There, he accessed the Crash Pad’s emergency overnight accommodation, before being offered a room at the hostel.
Kevin’s dedicated Key Worker helped him to apply for benefits and set up a repayment plan for his council tax arrears. He attended The Elms’ Life Skills course, where he learned about cooking, budgeting and looking after a home. He also started counselling with the hostel’s clinical psychotherapist.
One morning, Kevin noticed a group of residents learning about coffee from a Barista Trainer. A lifelong coffee lover, he was intrigued and asked his Key Worker about it, who signed Kevin up to start the next course. He learned about the different types of coffee beans, how the equipment worked, and how to steam and froth milk.
Shortly after completing the course, Kevin heard that DENS were planning to open The Kitchen Café in partnership with Sunnyside Rural Trust, and volunteered to help out two hours a week.
Being involved with the café has improved Kevin’s mental health significantly, because it has kept him busy and not dwelling on things. It’s also helped build his confidence, as he feels he is contributing to DENS and has found something he’s good at.
Kevin said: “I’ve been able to control my mental health issues when working with the café. I really enjoy meeting the customers and providing a service.”
Kevin is now thinking about returning to paid work in the coffee industry, something he wasn’t considering before.
DENS will continue to support and empower Kevin to return to a happy, healthy and independent life
Story published 18th September 2023.