At 16, Tom* left home following a relationship breakdown with his parents.  He was homeless, getting into crime and doing “stupid stuff”.  He moved constantly and, in his own words, he “lost his head for a time”. 

He decided he wanted to move back to Cheltenham as he was feeling lost, away from his friends.  His support worker arranged an interview with YMCA Cheltenham and within a few days he was able to move in.

It wasn’t very long before Tom expressed an interest in doing some voluntary work and, with his interest in sport he was welcomed onto the YMCA Cheltenham Community Sports team.  He spent a few months, working with the team in schools, leisure centres and at community events, helping to coach children in a variety of sports. 

He said “I enjoy working with my co-workers and the children.  I had never stuck at doing something before so this was a real achievement and boosted my self-esteem.”

Not long after, Tom secured his first full-time paid job with a local cleaning firm.  He has to work to tight deadlines and achieve high standards, but he enjoys doing something useful and is “having a great time” with his fellow workers.  He is full of optimism and hope for the future   “I want to see how far I can go and get everything I can out of what I am doing”.

With the help of YMCA Cheltenham, Tom was able to gain valuable volunteering experience in a role that he enjoyed, building his confidence sufficiently to enable him to make that transition into full-time employment. 

* Name changed to protect identity