“I am pushing myself forward"


Mark's story

"Before Step Forward I was really struggling with depression, I was unsure where to turn or what I wanted to do.

My motivation had really dropped and I was finding it hard to get involved in anything. I got involved with Step Forward because I had been at the Job Centre looking for work, having been out of work for a year. I had been made redundant – I was working in a sandwich factory and had been there for just over a year – it was a bit of a shock and I didn’t know what was happening. One minute I’m working and the next I’m not.

It was very stressful. Universal Credit had just been brought in and I had to cope with that and had to wait months. I was getting hassled for rent and it all felt a bit much. I struggled and got down because I couldn’t find a job straight away.

Step Forward helped me to get a volunteering placement with the Langridge Centre in Middlesbrough, doing ground works and maintenance. I have only just started my placement but I am enjoying it so far and it is giving me something positive to get involved with.

They’ve really helped me. They’ve picked me up again. My navigator at Step Forward has helped me arrange my benefits and finances and I’m now working with a health link worker around my mental health. I go to activities such as cooking and walking. It’s a chance to get out and about with other people and stops me being stuck in all the time, not doing anything. It’s good to get out.

Step Forward is really supportive and they’re pointing me in the right direction. I know what I want to do now and what kind of work will be right for me. I know that I can’t work shifts and in a noisy place because that’s not a good environment for me. So I’m looking for something outdoors and something quiet and Step Forward is helping me find the right thing for me."