Foundation Durham have a client group session that takes place twice a week, clients come together to talk, learn, get involved in various activities and connect with others.

During Men’s Health Awareness Month in November we spoke to a client who attends the group to discuss how attending the group has helped them.

How long have you been supported by Foundation?

I have been with Foundation since last September and I am midway through my tenancy with Foundation. My probation officer said that someone from Foundation would call me, and Ant called within the next 20mins.

What does your support entail? Is there anything that you feel has really benefitted you?

Ant, Jill, Ashleigh, everyone at Foundation has helped me. I have been helped with my benefits, appealing for PIP. Ant has helped me with all sorts and will even sort dentist appointments for me too. I was also helped with getting a step ladder so I could do some of my own decorating.

Have you been attending the Men’s Group?

I have been going since last November. It is quite a good mix of lads. We have lots in common and there are a few lads who know a lot about tech. We sit down and have a good chat. This benefits my wellbeing. We have recently been working on LGBTQ+ boards to go in office. We did this together and have just recently put them up too. I often feel down if I can’t make the group so I try to keep Tuesday and Friday free so I can go.

Do you have any goals for the future? Things you would like to achieve.

I am wanting to gain some qualifications. I have just completed my Level 1 English and I start my Level 1 Maths soon too. I am hoping to look at something around IT afterwards. Foundation have helped open opportunities for me.

Do you feel things have improved since working with Foundation?

Things have gotten a lot better. I am quite bad with my anxiety and mental health. I don’t like going to the doctors, but Ant will sometimes come with me. Ant has been a key figure and I would nominate him for an award. I can talk to Ant and always get the best advice, there is a real personal approach. It is good to have someone to talk to. I love my accommodation and I am very happy with it.

As it is Men’s Health Awareness Month, how do you feel the Men’s Group has helped you open up more and talk about your mental health or things that are worrying you?

Men don’t like talking. I only just started talking in the last two years. The men’s group has helped but I find the one-one personal chats that Ant offers to be more helpful. It is good to have the option for one-ones and it is important to have someone you can talk to. We don’t always stay in office, we have a group timetable and plan things, like walks and activities. When a plan comes to an end we come up with new ideas.

It is good that you get the opportunity to connect with others, chat and also do different things, isn’t it?

Yes, it is.

How would you sum up your experience with Foundation so far?

I am grateful for Foundation, Ant and all the staff for what they have done. Anything that comes up, whether decorating or even Christmas dinner, I have volunteered to cook. I like to give back when I can. I don’t think I would be sat here without Foundation.