People we’ve helped…
Michael has had connections with Future HSC for many years and in a variety of ways. Michael has been a tenant, a service user of our Floating Support Service, a founding member of our Flexible Future Forum, a volunteer at our ArtWork Cafe and has delivered training on Person-Centred Planning about his own Ladder Support Plan to Future staff, Board Members, service users and, on one notable occasion, to a groups of carers and a psychiatrist from the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.
Michael has a strong commitment and dedication to social inclusion and is an energetic volunteer with Future HSC and other community groups throughout Birmingham in order to further this aim.
But we don’t need to talk for Michael, he has his own voice and can tell you more about his time with Future better than we ever could. Please take a few minutes to watch Michael tell his unique story in his own words.
Bernie has been associated with Future HSC for over 15 years as a Board Member, Trainer and Service User/Tenant Involvement Co-ordinator. When Bernie first joined Future HSC in 2003, she was recovering from a major episode of mental ill health and found the opportunities and confidence she gained through the encouragement she received from Future HSC to be a vital part of her recovery.
Let Bernie tell you more about her time with Future HSC in her own words.
I was sent to prison on remand for the first time in my life at the age of 58. This was frightening experience for me; I couldn’t sleep due to the noise and constant threats. After my release from court I was placed on a probation order – my probation officer provided housing accommodation in an open access hostel in the city centre. My new accommodation was a lot worse than I expected in comparison to being in prison (which I thought was bad). There were constant fights which involved people being stabbed, doors were being ‘kicked in’, people reported having their money and possessions stolen, I was being intimidated by drug users when I got my money, and I could not sleep at nights due to the noise. I told my probation officer about the issues I was having and he referred me to Future’s project in Erdington where I have lived since 03/12/12.
The friendly staff here has been very helpful by giving me advice on various issues I’ve discussed which has helped me to settle into my new accommodation. The house is clean and tidy, little or no noise and I feel safe. I’m currently doing voluntary work with the Canal Conservation and I am enrolled on two courses, one to improve my reading and writing and information technology to help me with the basic understanding of computers. I have volunteered to be the health and safety representative for the residents at the project; which means I get to visit all the properties with a staff member to help to keep everyone safe. Soon I will be applying to the local authority to hopefully move into an independent accommodation.
During my prison sentence in 2000, I was subjected to verbal and physical abuse (I was attacked and suffered a broken arm) as a result of homophobia. This had a dramatic impact on my self confidence when I was released back into the community.
My probation officer at the time recommended that I seek accommodation with FutureHSC as she knew the project manager personally and felt that he would be the best person to assist me in readjusting back into society. After about 6 months the senior probation officer decided that I should move into independent accommodation which unfortunately led to me reoffending and being re incarcerated for 6 months. During that time, the manager of the project visited me in prison and discussed what was best for me on my release; also to dispose of the furniture and belongings in my flat.
Upon my release from prison it was decided that I return to the project. Throughout the following years I received the required support and help I needed, such as:
- Obtaining the right benefits via an appeal processes.
- Found voluntary work in a local theatre which helped to build my confidence.
- Eventually I felt that I was ready to move into independent accommodation, the staff helped me to complete all the required paperwork for the housing pathway team at the local authority.
After viewing several unsuitable properties I found the ideal bungalow in the Hamstead area of Birmingham where I have settled in happily. However, I continue to receive floating support from the project team if or when I require it.
When I was in prison a member of staff from Future Health and Social Care came and interviewed me for a place in their Erdington project. She explained to me the various ways they would be able to help with my problems and how I could move forward with my life. I told her I was interested, they agreed to have me and I moved into the project on the 6th December 2013.
I find it hard to trust people, however, over the last few months I have found the staff to be ok. They have helped me to resolve issues with my benefits, GP, dentist and when I injured my leg they arranged transport so I could get to appointments with the hospital and probation officer. After my recovery, I actively started looking for work and having a full driving licence helped me move around very easily.
The staff also helped me to look for a place of my own and told me they will help me when I move on so I don’t have to worry about trying to cope because they are only a phone call away.
I first came into contact with Future Health and Social Care when I was released from prison in September 1998. I had a very bad experience in prison and didn’t know what to do to avoid making the same mistakes and the only people I knew were those that saw prison as an ‘occupational hazard’.
My probation officer referred me to Future’s project in Erdington, he felt that I would get the support and guidance I needed to help me move-on in my life. I found the staff supportive and genuine. I stayed until the summer of 2002 when I moved into independent housing. Unfortunately, a few months later I bumped into one of my old prison mates and shortly after my flat was taken over by drug dealers and was trashed. I fled from there and went to see the manager at Future’s project and begged him to help me. He spoke to the probation service and argued my case, they both agreed to let me return.
After moving back into the project in 2003 until I left in 2011 I managed to get myself clean of class A drugs, I started to look after myself by taking pride in my appearance, sorted my budgeting and started to focus on me and my future. I now live in independent accommodation in the Stechford area and I have a job. I still keep in contact with the project manager and the staff there helps me if I have any problems, because of my history of drug addiction which has led to me suffering from epilepsy and drug induced psychosis. Therefore, the continued support I receive gives me confidence to keep moving forward.