I first found out about the Brighter Futures project when talking to my Housing Officer Ian Akehurst. I’d mentioned to Ian that I had been out of work for the last two years due to a debilitating lung condition. I was claiming disability benefits but really wanted to get back into work. I’d been stuck in the house for two years due to Covid and my mental health was in a bad place.

Ian told me that Merthyr Valleys Homes could help me with their Brighter Futures project. They could offer training and support to get me back into work. I couldn’t believe it, a Housing Association who wanted to help me with work?! I had no idea that this help was out there.

After the initial conversation with Ian, I was put in touch with Candy who is part of the Brighter Futures project. I chatted to Candy about my previous work experience and what my hopes for the future were, and together we agreed that some training was the best option. I started with a First Aid course in Merthyr College, then as I had done driving previously, I was put in touch with the The Construction Hub Academy, who could offer me training for my HGV licence.

I’d successfully completed the first part of my test within weeks, and I did the second part a little later. Within this time, I was offered support to do my CV, application forms and Interview skills training which I thought was brilliant.

After the course I was motivated to ring around and get a job using the skills I’d learned. I got a job quite quickly, but it was a long way to travel. A few weeks later I was offered a role driving for Kepac in Merthyr which is where I live. They put me out on the road, and I haven’t looked back.

I can’t thank Candy and the team enough. With my health conditions and the way it was going I didn’t think I would work again. The whole process and getting back into work after so long have worked wonders on my mental health. As I said before, I can’t believe that a Housing Association would do this for their Tenants. If you are out of work and think the team could help you at all I would 100% recommend giving the team a call.