We spoke to Daniel, one of our catering and baking peer mentors, to find out what he thought about Providence Row's trainee schemes.
"I was homeless for about 4 months. I’d been kicked out of my Mum’s house because we had been arguing quite a lot. I was sofa surfing for about four months as well, staying at friends’ houses, but I couldn’t stay there forever. I went to a homelessness place in Bethnal Green. Because I have epilepsy I was still having a lot of seizures at the time. I told them I was homeless. They said they couldn’t help me, so I got a solicitor involved. They put me in a local hostel.
I got involved with Providence Row because I had heard about them word of mouth. Someone in my hostel told me, so I thought I’d come and try it out. Providence Row has helped me. I have got seven certificates already and a part-time job. It’s helped me with my confidence dramatically.
Just before Christmas, so about four months ago, I got involved with catering and then the baking. I had no experience of the kitchen. I had done a business admin course before coming here, but I wasn’t doing anything after that for three or four months. I enjoyed learning how to make cakes, big dishes, developing my skills and working with Andrea and Simon. I can see myself getting a full time job as a chef.
I’ve also done ‘Working on it’ with Annette, first aid, Food hygiene and health and safety in the work environment. I’ll be starting the gardening next Thursday and I can’t wait! I’ve wanted to get involved with gardening since I was a kid.
I’m a peer mentor with Rise bakery, IT and catering. I love it. I enjoy helping people. I haven’t had any challenges working with other people. No one has given me attitude. The only challenge I have is me because I just want to be better every day. Lately I’ve been focussing on helping other people and developing more skills beyond the catering and the baking. I’m also focussing on getting into my own flat and I am now waiting for a viewing date.
I have told other residents at the hostel to come here and try it out. You get a lot of help here. It’s a different atmosphere. Everyone is happy. I don’t hear them bickering with each other, like at other places. Providence Row is the best charity I’ve been to. There are a lot of opportunities here. A lot of people just need a little bit of help with their confidence, like me.
I think it’s great that company volunteers come in. I’ve seen them helping other people. One of them said to just believe in yourself, that’s the most important thing. That’s a good piece of advice.
It’s helped my confidence and attitude a lot, because I could be quite moody. I was quite depressed before I came here. Providence Row has helped me with my depression. Before I was stuck at the hostel doing nothing, but now I’m a lot happier within myself. I’ve made some friends here as well and that’s another good thing.
If someone was thinking of supporting the charity or donating, I would definitely say do it. Providence Row is the best charity I’ve been at. 100%. So helpful, great attitude, lovely atmosphere and the teachers are great."
We would like to thank Daniel for taking the time to share his story with us.