Until recently, I had been unemployed for 10 years with the exception of short term manual labour. After leaving college I worked as a Graphic Designer for 3 years but was laid off due to budget cuts. After some time unable to find any meaningful work, my intermittent problems with depression and stress became so severe that I spent many years on Incapacity Benefit. My self-belief had disappeared due to the inevitable feelings of worthlessness that occur in a person who has been unemployed for so long and I became terrified at the prospect of taking on the responsibility of full time work.
After becoming stabilised enough mentally to return to Jobseekers Allowance, I found that the Graphic design field had passed me by due to the enormous progress in computer technology. I was afraid to commit to further education or training and the only way I could think of to ease myself back into the job market was to try volunteering. I did this with many organisations for some years but had felt very much left alone to do what was asked of me and felt no true help or even encouragement had been offered and was never offered any training that could help me become employable.
When I started volunteering with Parents In Need of Support I found just what I needed. As I continued, whenever Kay and Steve felt I was ready to try taking on extra duties, I was always involved (and listened to) in the process and never felt any undue stress was placed on me. With their help and encouragement my self-confidence grew and I became happier with myself as I felt I was finally achieving something meaningful. I took advantage of the training that Parents In Need of Support offered me and became confident enough to start looking seriously for work in a field that I had been unable to previously. I am now happily employed and have the confidence back that I felt would never return.
Anonymous (Volunteer Worker)