Moving forward from hard times….

The pandemic has been hard for many of us, and has affected us all in different ways. At Skills Bridge we encourage our interns and trainees to learn about and learn from others experiences, and remember that no two people experience things in exactly the same way. We are delighted that Tom, one of our Skills Bridge Interns has shared his story with us.


Hello my name is Tom.

In June 2020 I lost my job as an apprentice in Customer Services at Fountains Abbey. I felt heartbroken and shocked by the news. This caused my mental health to decline and I became angry most of the time. It was

hard for me and my family too. With their support and encouragement, I decided to get some counselling.


Fast forward a couple of months and I began virtual counselling. Counselling has helped me with deal with my emotions and identify where my anger has stemmed from. Through counselling I learnt how to recognise and deal with my anger. It has made me come to terms with why I lost my job and made me recognise that I can move on from this and find another job. More importantly, it made me realise that I shouldn’t let the past define me.


After being given the confidence and guidance I needed through counselling, I contacted Fran at Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre to see if they have anything they could offer me. Two months later I was enrolled on HS4LC’s Skills Bridge programme two days a week. My hope in joining the programme was to build my confidence and gain more work experience.


The staff at HS4LC have been able to secure me a volunteering placement at Vision Support. Whilst at Vision Support, I participate in a coffee and crossword morning with other clients who are visually impaired and in the afternoon I work with Tanya (who is the director). Tanya has helped me to recognise things about my visual impairment I didn’t know before. She has also made me recognise the skills I have and that I can really add value to the charity through my volunteering.


As well as engaging in counselling and starting at HS4LC, the last six months has also included getting a guide dog. The support from the Guide Dog Trust has been amazing and this has been a huge change for me and my family. Jerry really has transformed my life. As well as enabling me to become more independent, Jerry has also given me more responsibility at home and he has brought a sense of calm. It is hard to be angry and stressed when you have a dog to pet. You could say me and Jerry go together cat and mouse, you can definitely say my life feels so much better!


We hope you enjoyed reading about Tom’s experience. If you would like to find out more about HS4LC’s Skills Bridge Programmes do get in touch.