“Ever since meeting Chris from JST and Ivy from the Volunteer Centre my life has changed for the better. It has opened doors for me. I feel like I have meaning. I am almost 60 years old, I never dreamed it, but because of this support I am now learning new things.”
Photo: David Lesycyznski (Participant) Chris Jones (BBO Bridges/Just Straight Talk) at Sandwell Volunteer Event & Volunteering for Sandwell Visually Impaired AGM.
David accessed the BBO Bridges project through his Jobcentre advisor initially with extra support around financial difficulties. It soon became apparent that the underlining cause of these debts was down to a possible learning disability and David’s difficulty in reading and writing. Various companies were using his difficulty in communication to financially exploit him into perpetual debt cycles. In addition to this David was socially isolated.
Our first steps were to prioritise debts, contact debtors and stabilise David’s finances. Working with him to understand and implement payment plans that are regular and manageable by him. Some of these debts were elevated to courts by the individual debtors, and therefore we have challenged them at court on the grounds of communication, financial exploitation, and these are battles we are still fighting. We have contacted the Learning Disability Assessment team in Sandwell and are awaiting a comprehensive assessment with which we can use to broaden David’s learning horizons and support our challenge of debtors with a diagnosis.
By exemplifying partnership working we have worked very closely with the Volunteer Centre, who have approached David’s lack of experience and skills in the workplace through voluntary working with Agewell UK. We have secured David voluntary work at Sandwell Hospital working at the onsite shop and providing the trolley service around the various wards. David absolutely loves this and professes himself the huge impact this has made across all areas of his life.
“My job at the hospital has helped me to meet new people, learn new skills like using a till, serving customers, stock taking, and taking the trolley around the wards to see patients. I’m learning every day”
David regularly volunteers for any event that he can make himself useful for. He has supported and chaperoned blind participants at Sandwell Visually Impaired AGM, and even helped to run Volunteer events with the Sandwell Volunteer ‘Hands On’ Project alongside Ivy Taylor and her wonderful team. Our next steps are to secure relevant and meaningful education that meet David’s needs following his assessment for Learning Disability and ensure that David is financially aware of his commitments so that he does not slip into debt again.
“Ever since meeting Chris from JST and Ivy from the Volunteer Centre my life has changed for the better. It has opened doors for me. I feel like I have meaning. I am almost 60 years old, I never dreamed it but because of this support I am now learning new things.”