Jeremy's story

Working and volunteering has helped me feel part of the community

I used to rely on my parents for everything, which meant I did very little by myself. Living on a small family property outside of Wagga Wagga meant that accessing public transport was difficult. But once I moved into Wagga Wagga, I was closer to facilities and shopping centres and this helped with my independence. But more importantly, having people around me for support was reassuring, and built my confidence to live the life I want to live.

When the local Community Mental Health team referred me to Flourish Australia, I didn’t know what to expect,
it was all a bit new to me. I was nervous and uncertain about living out of home mostly because I had relied on my parents for so long. I was unsure about a lot of things and didn’t have the confidence to do much for myself.

The biggest challenge for me was to gain courage, and be able to look after myself. I started the HASI program with the Flourish Australia team around 10 months ago. They helped me set up in my new home and establish a daily routine. They also helped me link into the local community gardens, where I volunteer each Tuesday morning, and got to know some familiar faces.

Then I was encouraged to be one of the first people to commence in the supported employment program as it rolled out in Wagga Wagga. It’s exciting because as it’s a new program, there are a number of new business contracts which the team has created, and for the last six months now, we’ve been working really well. I’m washing cars and cleaning offices with one of our community businesses. Working with supported employment has helped me feel I’m part of the community. I’m contributing and doing something good, and this makes me feel fantastic!

I have developed good working relationships with my colleagues, and with the support and encouragement from the Flourish Australia team, I now live independently in a one bedroom unit, close to shops and clinical services. This means that I can now attend appointments on my own and I can buy my groceries without having to rely on my parents to take me. I’ve also learnt a thing or two about cleaning my unit and preparing meals for myself.

I got to this point in my life by staying positive and accepting support from people around me. Letting people know when I needed help was vital, and they were there.

In my free time, I like to be with my family, listen to music and do a bit of fishing. It’s here that I can reflect and think about how far I’ve come in less than 12 months. I’m a happier, better, stronger person now, and I’m really positive about my future.

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