Story 19 - Blog

Matthew's Story

Matthew is a former Look Ahead customer who now works with us as a Support Worker after volunteering in our services.

My time with Look Ahead actually started when I became a customer around eight years ago. I came out of prison in 2014 and was placed in a Look Ahead hostel. After a couple of years at the hostel, I decided to get involved with Look Ahead’s volunteering programmes.

I got an 18-month volunteering post at a Look Ahead service in Pimlico, where I helped with admin, answering phones, supporting customers with medical appointments and carrying out regular room checks to make sure customers got any necessary repairs sorted.

After that, I moved on to another service where I got to volunteer with other customers who were ex-offenders. I got to do such great work with the group because I’m familiar with that environment.

Later on, an opportunity to take up a Peer Support Assistant role came, so I went for it and got the position, and stayed there until 2018. From there, a colleague reached out and invited me to apply for a paid part-time role as a Support Worker at Look Ahead’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Service where I work now. After another 18 months in the role, they asked me to go full-time.

I was flattered, but I refused at first, I needed to make sure I felt ready in myself, it’s no use taking on more than you can handle. After a bit longer, I went full-time and I’ve never looked back. I love working in our Mental Health Service, you get to meet so many different customers, from a variety of ages and backgrounds.

My joy is seeing customers turn their lives around gradually like I did, it’s not a race after all. It’s so amazing watching a person who wants to be helped and make a change striving, and you get to be a part of that change with them.

Next my goal is to take on a more senior role at Look Ahead, I’ve already been invited to apply, but I’m taking my time to get there and enjoying the ride. I’m currently doing an NVQ Level 3 qualification, once that’s out of the way, I’m planning to go onwards and upwards to a new senior role. It’s all very exciting.