With the support of Talent Coach Dora at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, Owen has gone from being socially isolated and lacking in routine to moving to University in the pursuit of a career in the Police…
Owen was referred to Bolton Lads and Girls Club by a social prescriber working on Bolton CVS’ Community Assset Navigator Project.
Owen was initially referred to the CVS’ social prescribers from his GP due to his mental health needs.
Upon meeting Owen in May 2019, Dora was aware that he needed more structure and routine.
Owen was spending a lot of time at home, sleeping at very unsociable hours and struggling with how he felt about himself. He was spending lots of time manning online forums at night. Although building up skills in how to manage and coordinate these forums, this activity was contributing to his isolation and lack of sleeping routine.
Despite this negative pattern, Dora realised Owen was full of potential.
“He always wanted to go into the Police Force and had in the past, been very active with the Cadets in Bolton,” she said.
“He was a very capable young man, who has worked before and had a good level of education. He just felt that he couldn't achieve his dream of being a Police Officer due to lack of belief in his capabilities and also family members not fully believing in him.”
In their first few meetings in May/June 2019, Dora and Owen always met in the morning - so it would force Owen to sleep earlier the night before and provide a reason to get up.
"It is not all just about finding you a career, but instead helping in other areas of life...things like budgeting, ensuring you are being fed and have somewhere to live, having someone to talk to and organising you to visit services for help.”
At this point Owen was very reluctant to claim benefits. He had claimed before - so knew the process - but didn't feel in the right headspace to go through all the online forms and attend meetings. He also felt he wouldn't get listened to.
Dora approached the subject a few times and after a few weeks, Owen decided to open his claim again. He did this with Dora by his side whilst he did all the talking. Owen demonstrated to the Job Centre that he did need support regarding his mental health and was put on 15 hours job searching as well as having to go back to the doctors regarding his medication.
Dora felt this was Owen’s turning point.
“He began to recognise that if he wanted to realise his dream of going into the Police Force he would need to do things off his own back,” she said.
When Owen spoke to Dora about ways to get fit, she suggested he get a second-hand bike. When asked if he wanted help sorting this, Owen recognised that Dora wasn't always going to be around for 1:1 support and decided to source one himself.
Emboldened, Owen decided to apply for University - something he’d been told he'd never be capable of doing.
“Owen is very good at researching options and could see that Carlisle University did the course he wanted to do (Policing) and also had a good reputation for mental health support networks,” said Dora.
Owen applied through clearing in mid-August 2019, got an interview and was accepted.
“Owen nailed the interview,” said Dora. “He didn’t need me to support him – evidence that he's able to be independent and show the courage to put himself out there.
Dora worked with Owen to go over student loans, accommodation and prepare him for University life. He moved to Carlisle on 15th September 2019 and has already begun his course. So far he's enjoying University life.
Owen said: “I was at an all-time low, struggling at every turn, not even wanting to leave the house. In the few months I have been seeing Dora, I have grown up and learnt new ways to cope with my issues.
“I am now a university student who has moved away from home to seek a career in the Police. I would not have done this without the help I have had from Hidden Talent. It is not all just about finding you a career, but instead helping in other areas of life to help get you on track. Things like budgeting, ensuring you are being fed and have somewhere to live, having someone to talk to and organising you to visit services for help.”
Dora reflected: “Hidden Talent has been a big motivator for Owen. He needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Hidden Talent was that initial reason. From this sense of ‘get up and go’, his confidence has grown. Showing a belief in him has helped Owen see his potential and enabled him to push out of his comfort zone.
“Owen is always open and honest which has helped us create goals and actions on how to achieve these. I am so proud that Owen has got himself to university within a quick timeframe. I know he will go far.”