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We’ve launched our Christmas Appeal, and we stand the chance of raising £50,000 plus gift aid to fund our vital work.

 

We are participating in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, and all donations received during the campaign week will be matched. One donation, twice the impact.

 

The Matthew Project’s Next Steps hub is busier than ever. Every week, we run a bustling programme of activities, support, and events, supporting hundreds of marginalised people every year, including adults in recovery from addiction, young people facing barriers to work, and armed forces veterans. The impact of our work is far reaching, and as part of our campaign we are sharing just six stories of individuals from across our services highlighting the difference our services make. These stories, reminds us that there is hope and that there can be a brighter future ahead.

 

Campaign week: 12pm, 28th November – 12pm, 5th December.

Click the photographs below to read real stories from people supported by the Matthew Project:

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When I came to The Matthew Project, I was unemployed as I had just lost my job.  

Since the age of 12, I have struggled with my mental health. This, coupled with being unemployed, meant that I was in a very dark place, dealing with suicidal ideation and using self-harm to cope. 

I was referred to The Matthew Project by the Job Centre and I received support through the On Track project. Meeting regularly with my coach helped me move closer towards my goal of employment. They also funded counselling to help me tackle my mental health.   

Support from The Matthew Project has made a massive difference to my life. It gave me something to focus on during a time when I felt I had little stability. I gained admin-based experience which I added to my CV, and this gave me the confidence to apply for a paid position as the On Track Administrator, which I was successful in getting.   

After around two years of being employed as an On Track Administrator, I decided to take the next step in my career and applied for a position as an On Track Coach. I was keen to use my own experience to try and support others who were in my position at that time.  

I am now a Young People’s Practitioner in mental health working on The Matthew Project’s Stepping Out programme. I have decided to stay at The Matthew Project as I have found it a really supportive place to work. I have met some great friends and colleagues here and my respective managers have always been keen to see my professional development. 

Without having received support from The Matthew Project, my life may not have taken such a positive route. 

I work for the Matthew Project and I, along with my small team, provide around 300 hot meals every month and about 120 breakfasts at our Hub on Oak Street. This means that our members get a nourishing and filling meal at least three times a week. For some this is the only hot meal they get.  

In addition to this we also provide cooking sessions for the Men’s group, slow cooker challenge and upskilling activities for members who volunteer to support the kitchen tasks. Within these activities we help members learn to cook on a budget, volunteer and explore hospitality as a career choice.  

Another important part of my role is to develop and deliver our ‘Moving Onward’ offering. This follows on from our Recovery Support Programme (RSP), which helps members begin to reconnect with themselves and rebuild their confidence and self-esteem. Moving Onward is a programme which supports members in recognising their skills and how these can be utilised in the community, volunteering, education, and employment. 

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We do this through self-assessment activities, CV development, transition from benefits to worked income and how to deal with the challenges this provides.  This provision is very person-centred so there will be group work but also complimented by one-to-one support and guidance to ensure that their outcomes are appropriate to them. 

Working for The Matthew Project, and knowing that you are helping someone on their journey to recovery through supporting their personal and professional skills development alongside a team with the same ethos, gives me a sense of purpose which, I very much hope, comes over in the activities we do and the behaviours we demonstrate.  

Our members recognise that our centre is a safe space where they are not judged for what has occurred in the past and they can become the people they have wanted to be, to grow and learn to achieve this.   

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Ever since I was young my dad always suffered with a drinking issue. It’s not until I got older that I realised it was also affecting my life. His drinking became worse when I joined sixth form, which is when it began affecting my day-to-day life. I was turning up to school exhausted, not just physically but emotionally. This was having an effect on my schoolwork and learning. I knew it was no longer something I could handle on my own and I had to talk to somebody, but I didn’t know who to reach out to.  

I spoke to my school and shortly they got me in contact with The Matthew Project. I felt very nervous to talk to somebody at the Matthew Project as I was always very apprehensive to tell people about my home life due to fear of judgement. However, as soon as I met Sharon I felt instantly put at ease and she felt like a friend who I could talk to about anything.  

Sharon helped me to cope with the issues not only going on at home but also the stresses of sixth form. Even when I didn’t want to talk about what was going on at home, she would always listen to anything I had to say and would always give me positive advice. Throughout my two years with Sharon, I have managed to cope with my dad’s drinking so much better and he is now receiving help and has quit drinking. I finished sixth form and now I’m at university and I don’t think I would’ve reached this point if I hadn’t received help. I am so grateful for the Matthew Project but specifically for Sharon who always helped me over every hurdle I came across. 

When I was met by The Matthew Project, I was feeling kind of useless and living in chaos. I felt I could not do much to progress. I am a full-time carer for my mum and responsible for most tasks around the home.  

I have no work experience or qualifications, and I found it difficult to leave the house. I was interested in education and working, I want to own my own home in the future but caring for my mum takes up a lot of my time. I had no money, I had no friends, and I was in no position to complete my education.  

Since meeting my coach, I have started getting out of the house more. We started this together and now I can do this on my own. I have been able to build up my confidence and have begun using public transport, which is a big step in the right direction. I have my own bank card and am now able to access my own money. I have photo ID and an email address. I am also receiving support to help with housing and have even been able to access some positive activities with On Track.  

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I don’t feel hopeless anymore. I feel less stressed and I don’t have as many headaches now. Support from my coach has helped me become more confident, be more independent and I feel more positive about moving forward with my life.  

When I arrived through the doors of the Next Steps centre at The Matthew Project, I knew this was the place I needed to be. I was clean and had stopped using drugs and alcohol, but I lived with the shame, guilt and self-hate for so long it was becoming more and more challenging to stay clean. I wouldn’t use again because of my daughter who was 5 years old when I stopped but I began to self-harm instead.  

 

I had been living in hostels with my young daughter, and together we lived through my addiction. Being clean was great, but I felt so unworthy, I didn’t deserve anything and apart from my daughter I had nothing to live for. I was a ‘druggy’. I was holding on to all these emotions, and I couldn’t forgive myself.

 

I joined the Recovery Support Programme (RSP), after committing to the drop-in sessions at The Matthew Project. The six-week programme literally changed my life. It gave me the structure and tools I needed to make the positive changes I needed to make.


They helped me believe in myself and help me believe that I am worthy on everything life has to offer me. I didn’t choose to be an addict, I hated the thought of using drugs, and looking back now I don’t recognise myself. I made choices, which covered up something so deep. As a result of the support, I received I have finally been able to forgive myself.  

 

I now work for The Matthew Project, and volunteer for one of their groups. I am a kind-hearted and caring person and only want to help others and help them live their best life.  

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I was referred to The Matthew Project for support with my gambling addiction. I am a serving member of the armed forces and at the time I felt tired, mentally drained and wanted to give up. I felt I had nowhere to turn, and the unthinkable alternative was becoming something I would dwell on daily.  

My mental health had deteriorated. Professionally proud, I didn’t want to speak to anyone within the military. Not about my current situation and most definitely not about my childhood. 

I decided that something needed to change in my life as I have a young family, so I reached out to ‘Outside the Wire’ at the Matthew Project. Shortly afterwards, I was introduced to my Recovery Practitioner, and he allowed me to finally unburden my thoughts without prejudice or judgement, one step at a time.

Two months into our meetings I was deployed and there was genuine concern on my part that I might not cope and would be pulled back into darker thoughts. This hasn’t happened, and it is largely down to the fact I have someone to talk to and discuss concerns, even from thousands of miles away, through emails and text message exchanges. 

The bad days definitely still exist, but the good days outweigh the bad. It’s a long journey ahead, but one that I am thankful to be taking with Outside the Wire. 

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