Mike at work in uniform

How Mike went from Isolation to Independence

When Mike finished college, the prospects available didn’t help him progress. So the family moved to France, where Mike became friends with everyone in the village—finding freedom, independence, confidence, and a great social life through a family-orientated culture. However, there was no- one his age, plus it’s important for Mike to be around his siblings and extended family.

So Mike and his parents returned to the UK, and all Mike did was sit in his bedroom. 

Until Mike’s social worker told the family about Anne from Discovery’s Supported Employment team, who first started Mike volunteering in a charity shop, and it rolled on from there:

“I like wrapping the furniture to be delivered. It’s a fun place to work, and I can be myself there.” – Mike

Next, Anne got Mike into Home Bargains for work experience, and Home Bargains were so pleased they offered Mike an interview.

“Home Bargains is such a great employer; they get it. For instance, we started the interview sitting in an office, but she got up and said, “You know what? Let’s show you what you’d be doing.”

– Anne, Discovery Supported Employment Officer,

Mike’s mum agrees that Home Bargains is a great employer: 

“He doesn’t get into trouble for things he doesn’t get because they understand and employ him for his ability to follow instructions and how much he loves helping people.”

-Mike’s mum,

Here are some other reasons:

“Mike doesn’t care what he does. You don’t get any grumpiness or foul language. He gets on with it. Now he feels confident enough to flex with his routine and think on his feet too, which is excellent.”

-Mike’s mum,

At first, Mike’s parents drove him to work and back, but Anne worked in partnership with a reputable taxi firm to bring in small steps of independence, and now he takes a taxi entirely independently. 

Mike now has a full week. Monday is wrapping furniture. On a Tuesday and Thursday, he’s out socialising at day centres, on Saturday he is with his girlfriend and on a Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, he’s at Home Bargains.

The next step for Mike is to phase out his time in the day centres, replace it with employment, and eventually live independently. 

“We’re not going to be here forever, and if he is not living with us when it’s our time, it’d be easier on him. Losing parents is not easy. And if you’ve got your own life, it doesn’t hit you in the face.”

– Mike’s Mum,

That’s how vital independence is.

See Mike talk about his story in the 5 minute clip below:

If you think we might be able to help you or someone you love see here for Community Outreach and here for Supported Employment

If you’re an employer who’d like to make a difference, see our Community Fund.

Or if you’d like a job like Anne’s helping someone like Mike make the small steps that add up to make a big difference, see here.

As part of Dimensions, Discovery has been independently rated a ‘Great Place to Work’ by the Great Places to Work Institute for the fourth year running, and additionally this year received its ‘Wellbeing’ award.