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New Year sees new responsibilities for supported housing resident

25 January 2018

A Basingstoke man has overcome a difficult period of mental health and gone on to volunteer and help others, thanks to Sanctuary Supported Living (SSL) and The Prince’s Trust.

Pentire resident Sam Bowman

James Bowman, 23, moved into SSL’s Pentire, a supported housing service for people with mental health needs, last August following a period of ill mental health that had peaked in January 2017.

Moving in to the service provided James, who has a diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder, with an opportunity to draw up a personalised support plan with staff and receive help to manage his condition and pursue a healthy lifestyle.

He said: “Staff here have helped me by being there to talk to when I’m down and giving me information. When there was a break in benefit payments at one point, their advice helped ensure I didn’t fall into arrears.

“They’re also helping me to get healthy and have motivated me to the point where I’m now running 5k every weekend – this has all had a massively positive effect on my mental wellbeing.”

This year also sees James take on a role as a team leader with The Prince’s Trust, in which he will provide mentoring to over a dozen young people with activities like job hunting, preparing CVs and achieving their qualifications.

When James became depressed after losing his job, friends recommended he try a 12-week course with The Prince’s Trust as a way to meet new people and learn new skills.

After signing up, he was able to take part in a range of activities with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, in which he learned how to practice first aid, perform water rescues and develop an understanding of fire safety. James has also discussed his involvement on a YouTube video produced by the fire service.

This encouraged him to spend the best part of a year volunteering locally with the organisation before stepping up to the role of team leader.

Following on from his work with The Prince’s Trust, James has also joined Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Commission and has been preparing a presentation on unhealthy relationships.

James added: “I’ve learned a lot of skills through The Prince’s Trust and made a lot of new friends – I feel much better about myself than I did a year ago.

I’ve learned a lot of skills through The Prince’s Trust and made a lot of new friends – I feel much better about myself than I did a year ago.

James Bowman, SSL resident

“My work with the Youth Commission has been really interesting too; I discovered so much about what makes up an unhealthy relationship – it isn’t just about your partner, it can involve your friends or family too and affects people of any age – and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned.”

SSL project worker Ruth Stoner commented: “We’re fantastically proud of James and all he’s accomplished since he arrived in August.

“His commitment to volunteering and making a positive contribution to the community is making a huge difference, not just to those around him but to his own outlook as well.”

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