Ben finds his feet with the Pathway to Employment programme

Only a year ago Ben* from Reigate was sleeping rough and suffering from depression.

In September 2017, rough sleeper and father of two, Ben (62) from Reigate joined Raven Housing Trust’s East Surrey Pathway to Employment programme. Today, with the interventions of the programme and relevant volunteering work, Ben feels ready to move back into paid work and has secured a new home.

When Ben was referred to Raven Housing Trust’s Pathway to Employment programme, he was sleeping in his car, suffering from depression, low self-esteem and felt isolated from society. In 2013, Ben was forced to leave his marital home and two children after going through a testing divorce. Previously, Ben had worked as a financial advisor and mortgage broker and so had a strong working history but was made bankrupt in 2016, which is when his situation started to spiral out of control. Ben’s goal when starting the programme was to find the support he needed to get himself back on his feet and ultimately get back to paid work.

One of the first interventions offered to Ben through the Pathway to Employment programme was to attend a confidence workshop. The workshop helped to inspire Ben to think more positively and start believing in himself again. Shortly after this, he decided to take advantage of the counselling service offered through the programme in the hope that this would further alleviate any negative thoughts and steer him toward a better mindset for work.

In December 2017, Ben attended a Christmas social event organised by Raven Housing Trust. It was during this event that he expressed a desire to work in housing and gain the experience required to move into paid work. It was arranged through the programme that Ben would work as a volunteer several days a week at Raven. He is currently working with Raven’s Home Ownership team on their leasehold and shared ownership projects. He has also been refreshing his customer-facing experience by shadowing Raven’s Customer Services and Reception staff and working directly with customers.

When asked about his experience Ben said:

Although I work at Raven Housing Trust as a volunteer, I have been treated like a permanent member of staff and made to feel welcome since I entered the building on my first day.  For someone in my situation, this is an enormous motivator and an excellent reflection of the spirit and attitude of the staff at Raven”.

Ben feels like his volunteering placement has helped him get his confidence back, and is keen to move into paid work within the housing sector.

In addition, it has now been confirmed that Transform Housing have offered him accommodation in Merstham and he has now moved in.

This will help to give him the stability he needs in his life to find work.

*not his real name

For more information, or to refer someone to the programme please visit the East Surrey Pathway to Employment page or contact Carla.Shelton@ravenht.org.uk