Martin credits OCS, and in particular, Facilities Manager Mike McManus, with playing a key role in his story.
Aged 37, with his condition under control thanks to medication and having been discharged from hospital, Martin went for his very first interview for an OCS cleaning job at Guild Lodge, where he had once been a patient. He says: “I’d never been on a job interview before. OCS knew I had been in Guild Lodge, and that I had a mental illness, and they made me feel at ease; they understood my condition. When I got a phone call saying I had got the job, I was absolutely made up; my self-esteem was mended overnight.”
It was an important milestone for Martin – so much so he’s even kept his first payslip – and he credits Mike with supporting him through that time. When Martin was moved to a new flat, Mike found him another job with OCS nearer to home. Martin says: “Mike looked out for me and always checked in on me. He went the extra mile for me.”
With three years’ experience and two jobs with OCS under his belt, Martin now had two references to apply for other roles. Mike told Martin about a vacancy with the Forensic Community Mental Health Team at Guild Lodge and Martin applied and got the job – the first time an ex-service user has been employed at the trust. As an ‘expert by experience’, he works with patients to help them prepare for return to life in the community.
He says: “Medication has played a big part in getting my life together, but so has OCS as well – they’ve felt more like a family than an employer and Mike gave me that chance to prove myself to people.”