Before joining the Employment Academy at The House of St Barnabas I had been out of work for about three years due to ill health. When I was ready to go back to work, I struggled to get a job. I spent every day going into the Job Centre, which was depressing. And then sitting around the house with nothing to do made my depression even worse.

I had so many job interviews but was passed over for every position. I was given a Jobs Coach, Peter Murphy from City Hall, to help me find work, but I still wasn’t able to get past the interview phase. Finally, as a last-ditch attempt to help me get into work (or so it felt at the time), Peter put me in touch with The House of St Barnabas.

Before I arrived at The House of St Barnabas my confidence was low and my depression was really bad.

I didn’t know if I would be able to cope with the employment programme. But against all of my expectations, during my time there I made new friends and gained bags full of confidence.

My depression was no longer really bad, and although I knew it was still there it didn’t stop me enjoying the programme.

The staff were lovely, caring, warm and helpful.

The in-house training was excellent – even the classroom lessons were fun!

It felt like home and a new family which I had never had before.

Graduation day was the best day ever. And then, even though the course had finished, they didn’t let me down and kept fighting the good fight. That led to me getting a job at Planet Organic.

I have been here for nearly seven months now and I am loving it. Even though it is hard work I have found a new lease of life, I have made new friends, and the management is lovely and supportive.

This is the story of my life before The House of St Barnabas and after, with Planet Organic. If anyone is looking for a way to get back to work and find a great job, I encourage you to do the same as I did. Planet Organic is wonderful to work for (and there are lots of great opportunities!)

Marc, Graduate 2016