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Finding my place in the world through volunteering at Unlock

I was convicted of a serious offence towards the end of 2013.  As a result, I lost my job, my reputation and my self-esteem and I attempted suicide during the police investigation.  My wife, my family and most of my friends stood by me, but I had lost many things that were important to me.  After several unsuccessful job applications I thought I would never work again.

Unlock advertised for volunteers in Spring 2014 and, having used the helpline and the information hub, I decided to apply.  I was invited for interview and Chris, Debbie and the rest of the team were very welcoming.

I got the job and worked two days each week doing administrative work in the office.  Chris and Debbie could see that I had much to offer and I set to work on a list of tasks that they had wanted to do but never found the time.

As well as enjoying the work, I also enjoyed the social interaction in the office and I enjoyed putting on a shirt and trousers and travelling to work each day.  I felt normal again!

I think I made a positive contribution to the work of Unlock in the time I was there, but the best thing for me personally was when Debbie asked me to represent Unlock at a training workshop in London.  I travelled up on the train, took part in the discussion, made some new contacts and came back with some useful information.  This might seem strange, but it made such a difference to how I felt about myself.  These were things that I did all the time in my old job, but now I felt normal again and part of the working world.  Yes, I could still do it!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was offered permanent paid employment a short time later.  An old friend with his own business had a vacancy, he knew I could do a job for him and knew that I was trying hard to help myself.

However, I had “unfinished business” at Unlock.  Chris and Debbie had been very good to me and I could not let them down.  I did one day a week for a few weeks after I started my new job and finished off some work that I wanted to finish for Unlock.

I hope you will see from the above that Unlock helped me to find my place in the world after a very traumatic experience.  They helped me to get back to work, but more than that I also made some new friends.  We have kept in touch and I intend to keep it that way.

Thank you Unlock!

By Dave* (name changed to protect identity)

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