Daniel’s Story

When I left school, during the summer holidays, the difficulties started within a short time period. I was close to being homeless and was just about to start college. I was 16, living in my family home, without my family, and without a safe front door. The front door was literally taped on and I worried constantly about strangers who would look through the letterbox.

The day I moved to the YMCA was the day I started college. Leading up to Christmas that year, I enjoyed being part of the activities put on by YMCA staff. I felt shy at first, but playing football with the other residents once a week helped me to come out of my shell. After Christmas, I was beginning to feel more confident, so I became a volunteer for the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. I also became involved in the weekly Sewing Club, where I learned how to stitch-up my clothes, and make bags, coasters and a kilt. I felt proud of my work. Shortly after, I then began to volunteer for Derby County Community Trust, a path which led to me becoming involved in the Toyota Working Assets Programme.

I had the opportunity at Toyota to build my CV, gain confidence in the workplace and apply for jobs and apprenticeships. I spent my time in the HR department, which allowed me to gain valuable experience and undoubtedly led to me being accepted onto an apprenticeship in January 2018 at Babington. I completed the Toyota programme and felt a huge sense of achievement.

Life is good now, I’m four months into my apprenticeship and I have a safe place to live after moving out of the YMCA in January. I’ve recently been picked to take part in England’s Street Football team, where I’ll be playing in a European football tournament in Portugal. This is an exciting challenge for me. I’ll also be volunteering at the annual Greenbelt Festival for a second year running, helping to maintain the upkeep of the site.

I’ve come a long way in a short space of time and I’m determined to climb the ladder in HR and gain more qualifications along the way. I am also hoping to get a part-time job to be able to start learning to drive as this will help me with new opportunities. I am honestly loving life right now and still can’t believe how far I’ve come. If you had asked me at the start if I could have accomplished all that I have done, I would have said ‘not a chance’. A big thank you to the Health and Wellbeing team at YMCA Derbyshire, as it all started with me taking part in activities. There is no looking back now.

The Foyer Federation is registered in England and Wales under company number 2699839 at Work.Life, Core Building, 30 Brown Street, Manchester, M2 1DH. The charity is registered under charity number 1040482.
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