Service Users who are now staff:

Testimonial from Karl Jackson-Lander

Karl began receiving support from Richmond Fellowship in 2016 after being out of work for many years. Fast forward to 2019 and he now works as a Peer Support Coordinator at Kirklees Employment Service in Yorkshire. Karl explains how taking up learning and development opportunities has helped him get where he is today.

Karl’s story

“With the supportive guidance of my Employment Adviser, I began the first tentative steps in my recovery journey. I attended a number of courses organized by Richmond Fellowship, specifically designed to help me rebuild my confidence, remain well and develop the practical skills to help me attain either voluntary or paid employment.

“Witnessing the inspirational ways in which volunteers co-facilitated these groups alongside full-time members of staff, led me to enquire about the voluntary opportunities available at Richmond Fellowship. After completing the application process, I began my volunteer role, which involved assisting people we support with a basic IT course. I went on to volunteer on other courses and this culminated in my enrolment on the Level 2 accredited volunteer training course, where   I developed a range of new skills and improved existing ones. I found this to be an extremely rewarding and eye-opening experience.

“Not long after this, my Peer Support Coordinator told me that she was going on maternity leave and, with her encouragement, I was able to draw on my newly awakened sense of self worth and my positive experiences as a volunteer to apply for her post. Much to my surprise and excitement, I was offered the job!

“I have found my role as Peer Support Coordinator to be a thoroughly enjoyable, enriching and positive experience. I look forward to going to work every day and I also have the privilege of helping other people (both people using our services and volunteers) on their own individual recovery journeys.

“Without meaning to sound overly dramatic, Richmond Fellowship and the services it provides has transformed my life completely and enabled me to leave my debilitating mental health issues in the past. “Looking to the future

Throughout his time as Peer Support Coordinator, Karl has completed a number of training and development courses including Train the Trainer, Recruitment and Selection, Suicide Intervention and the Deliver and Assessing course, which will enable him to run the accredited volunteer training.

As well as taking part in many of the courses himself, Karl also continues to work hard to look at new ways of involving the people we support, through improving existing training courses and creating new ones to meet people’s individual needs and goals.

Service User Feedback

The support I have received has made such a difference. If it hadn’t been for my adviser, I wouldn’t be attending a music course, I wouldn’t be working, and I would have been in a real panic about my finances and situation. I feel like we have come a long way together.

I would recommend the Employment Service to others. I have found Richmond Fellowships staff to be professional, patient, knowledgeable and prepared to mange their time around the service users needs.

It’s been a wonderful life changing experience. I’ve gained so much confidence and improved in so many areas it’s hard to think back to how I was…when I was first referred. The support I have had has been second to none. My Employment Support Advisor has been amazing. Always there for me when I’ve needed help and advice. Nothing has ever been too much. I have gone from having next to zero confidence and wondering if I’d ever work again after I suffered mental ill health, to now being back in paid employment and studying for new qualifications. I found the various workshops offered extremely helpful also. I highly recommend anyone who needs help contacts Richmond Fellowship. They will not be disappointed.

The staff at Kirklees Employment Service put me back together…I have learned new skills, met with people and felt humbled at how much kindness can be found among those who are suffering. Staff saw things in me I couldn’t see myself’.

‘I enjoyed that the workshops were online…I could attend even if the weather was bad/raining/cold’.

‘Having completed this workshop, I have decided to go to college to study counselling…the workshop has helped to shine a light on my future direction in life. It has given me back some of my lost confidence. Thank you so much Karl…’

‘I received phone support…these calls were a lifeline for me…Sharnel believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. The encouragement I got helped me to start exploring volunteering, and I decided to apply for a position…I now realise I have so much to live for…I would absolutely recommend the service to anyone who is struggling to find a purpose in life, and is in need of support and advice from someone who will listen to their worries and concerns without judging them’.

‘I would definitely recommend the employment service.  I have valued the regular support and the professional and friendly service.  I would encourage people from Asian backgrounds to access Richmond Fellowship for employment support’

I’d like to say thank you for Richmond Fellowship and to my advisor Rosalyn for helping me during this difficult period of isolation. I feel as though I wouldn’t have been able to make certain decisions on which jobs to look for and what support I should choose to help me move forward. I do recommend this service to anyone who is having difficulty and when I first started, I realised it was the best decision I ever made.

Referrer: ‘Ziona is a fantastic practitioner…her positive regard for our service users and her commitment to supporting them is clear…her skills and knowledge are expansive’.

Volunteer Feedback

I have gained some valuable experience of supporting people with mental health issues and learning new things to adopt in my own life too! …you’ve made me feel so welcome and comfortable from the day I started…I also know that so many other people are lucky to have someone as genuine and caring as yourself supporting them through tough times.

Referrer Feedback

‘I am made to feel more confident in the marketplace and within myself. The advice re. resources to help with forwarding my career have been invaluable’.

Referrer: The adviser…has kept myself and my colleague up to date the whole way through, she has been very clear with the service user keeping him up to date as requested. I will definitely recommend the services to any of our future service users who I feel will benefit from them’.