Maria, 24, said:

“I first needed St Basils when my sister got evicted from her property and she came back to my mum’s house with all her four children, so it was just really overcrowded and there just wasn’t any room for me anymore.

I was housed in Edmonds Court Foyer, Small Heath and I really like it there. It’s nice to have the support if you need it but you can live pretty independently as well.

The Learning, Skills and Work staff at Edmonds Court put on a number of workshops including Interview skills, employability and the 10 week Mental Skills Training (MST) programme. I got involved with whatever was going on at the time because I wasn’t in college and I found I just got bored otherwise.

I learnt loads, even things I thought I’d known but I’d forgotten and MST was wicked! It’s all about knowing what your skills are and knowing how to use them. I absolutely loved it and it did build up my confidence a bit more and taught me how to manage my nerves ”.

"Other than the workshops what’s particularly helped me at St Basils is the support of the staff, particularly LSW Officer Vicky and Partnership and Progressions Officer Kash. I think they’re just really dedicated to what they’re doing – Vicky's great, quite strict about not missing appointments with her and so on but in a way that shows she cares about you. And Kash helped me get 2 weeks work experience at Willmott Dixon (which has since led onto a temporary job with them) so I’m really grateful to her too".Willmott Dixon logo

“I learnt quite a lot more than I thought I would just on the placement. When I first got shown the system I thought ‘Wow, I’m not going to be able to do this’ but as you go along it gets easier and you pick it up and then you want more challenges, and you want to do more things that will be helpful".

"And when an agency staff member left I was offered this paid role! It’s temporary at the moment but they’ve told me about a few other permanent positions they might be able to offer me soon, and they’re training me on everything, not just the role I was offered. It feels like they want to keep me".

"My favourite part of the role here is talking to the customers on the phone. I know some people would think that would be stressful - dealing with the customer’s problems, but I like challenges. I’ve discovered that about myself recently.  So it’s nice to feel I can handle that and it’s good to be the one that sorts it for them by getting it all booked in".

"I do love working here and it’s completely changed my days from how they used to be. I get up at 6am and some days I won’t get home until quite late, I’ll cook, watch some TV and go to bed, that’s my life now during the week! I don’t have the energy for anything else. I like it though; I feel like I’ve got a purpose for the day. I used to just waste time days there was nothing on at the project. I just used to sit in front of the TV all day on my phone, but it didn’t feel good. It’s nice to have purpose now."

"I don’t actually have to work to still be on a reasonable amount of money, because I’ve got a long-term physical impairment so I get extra benefits… But now I think working is so much better… and that’s what I found doing the placement and I just wanted it to carry on".