I was getting depressed at home, I was just going nuts basically. There was nothing to do. I had no money coming in, and any little money that I did have coming in had to go to something. Rent, food, money for phone top-ups - which was a big issue in case of an emergency or something. And just general stuff, like shampoo.
It was quite hard because I wanted to do stuff and I couldn’t. Like treat myself to a DVD or some new clothes, or something like that. Things that anyone would want. I had to save for everything, even to go to the cinema.
Being unemployed meant I was lonely, because even though I had my housemate, he’d go off to work and I’d be on my own from say two in the afternoon until half eight, quarter to nine of a night time. It was just getting too much. It made me think sometimes, "Well there is nothing in life to live for."
I wanted a job and it was like the same old thing - apply online, apply online, apply online - and when I did apply I didn’t hear back from anyone it was quite stressful. It just felt like, “Why am I bothering?"
With support from Mecap, I learned how to fill out application forms online properly, writing to employers with a covering letter, sending in CVs, interview skills, basically all the stuff that I needed to get a job in the future.
It’s like for finding a job there are a lot of rules, and if you don’t know the rules then you can’t play properly.
Then I finally got an interview - I felt better in myself, because I knew what I had to do. I actually got the job, I felt excellent – I thought, "Now I can get out, get on with my life, I can do whatever I need to."
I’ve been here nine months coming up to a year All they’ve got to do is show me what to do once and I can do it. I just need a bit of time to pick it up and they give me that. My job title is Welfare Facilitator, that means making sure that they’re happy, or drinking plenty of water, or if they need to talk about something then I’m here for them. Basically, I just potter around if anybody needs any help I’m here to give it to them! I never thought that I’d get a job after being unemployed for so long. And then this place came up.
Basically, after all this I’d say to employers - just give them a chance. I still get visits and texts from the Mencap employment team too check I’m ok which is nice, but I’m great, I feel like ‘me’ now.
The past is the past, but this is my future.
Barriers to employment present challenges that many people with a learning disability find impossible to overcome.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Please donate to Mencap and help transform more lives like Antony’s.