Endon man’s volunteering work led to job success
A 45-year-old man from Endon, near Stoke-on-Trent, who is celebrating landing his first full-time job says he owes his employment success to volunteering for a Keele based charity.
Julian Perks says he struggled with mental health issues as a teenager and as a result he found it difficult to deal with the pressures of day-to-day life.
His condition went undiagnosed throughout his adolescence and into his early adulthood, and he was unable to get a job.
But now, at the age of 44, Julian has secured full-time employment as a Project Coordinator with Green Door, a Stoke-on-Trent based charity that provides fully inclusive and accessible activities to disabled children in the region.
At 24 years of age Julian had a nervous breakdown and it was only then that he began to receive support through a range of talking therapies.
“I simply couldn’t deal with life,” Julian explained. “I couldn’t function and I needed help and that’s when I was transferred into the system.
“I received counselling and psychotherapy and that began to have a positive effect on my mental health.”
Julian continued to receive this support until his early 30s but then he was discharged.
“The money to support me ran out,” he exclaimed. “It just came to a stop and I was on my own again.
“I lacked confidence and self-esteem and I still wasn’t in a place where I could function enough to work.”
At the age of 42 a friend of Julian’s told him about Caudwell Children, the Staffordshire based charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, and explained how they were always looking for volunteers.
“I contacted them and arranged to go in for an interview,” said Julian. “They invited me to volunteer in their Applications Department, processing applications for all sorts of things form specialist wheelchairs to sports equipment and car seats.
“What I immediately noticed was that it was such a motivating place to volunteer, and helping to improve the lives of others was definitely getting me up in the morning.”
As Julian’s confidence and skills sets began to grow he started volunteering on the charity’s programme of Activity Days, held at various venues throughout Staffordshire. This led to him being offered the opportunity to run some of the workshops as a paid sessional worker.
“It was fantastic experience and I got to meet so many inspirational children,” enthused Julian. “During my time at Caudwell Children I met some great personalities and without question it developed my phone skills, my administrative knowledge, my understanding of financial matters and spreadsheets, but most of all my understanding of people, particularly children.”
Julian says that his time volunteering at the charity also helped him uncover a lot of skills that he didn’t realise that he had!
Such was his progress at the charity that Julian was offered a 14 hour a week contract delivering their Activity Days in Newcastle-under-Lyme. As funding for the post neared its end Julian found that he now had the confidence to apply for a number of advertised positions.
“I’d also started to volunteer for Green Door whilst being contracted to Caudwell Children,” Julian explained. “Although they are a volunteer led charity a full-time position came up for Project Coordinator at the Westport Lake centre.
“Given the amount of time I’d spent at Caudwell Children I felt I now had the experience to do the job so I didn’t hesitate in applying, and I was blown away when I was offered the job.”
Sherry Shehata, National Volunteer Manger at Caudwell Children, is delighted that the charity has played a small part in Julian’s success. As she explained: “Julian’s life has completely turned around and it’s fantastic to see him doing so well.
“When he started volunteering for us he lacked the confidence and skills that many employers look for.
“But with his determination to succeed, and the desire and enthusiasm that he showed to develop his skills, he quickly became a key member of the team.
“The fact that he’s now secured his first full-time job fills everyone at Caudwell Children with immense pride and we know that he will thrive at Green Door, where he will be a real asset.”
Although he no longer works or volunteers for Caudwell Children he says the relationship between them is far from over.
“I’ll be calling in occasionally and I’ll always keep in touch,” he said. “There are a lot of people there who have helped and supported me over the last three years.
“I’ve built some extremely strong personal relationships and they don’t just go away.
“I’d advice anyone who is in the position that I was once in to get involved in volunteering for the charity as you’ll get so much out of it.”
To volunteer for Caudwell Children ring Sherry Shehata on 01782 433949 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about volunteering for Caudwell Children here.