Luke's Story

After being in and out of work and struggling with debt, Luke is now being supported by Building Better Opportunities: Opportunity and Change

22-year-old Luke grew up in the care system and currently lives alone in a rural part of Derbyshire. He has settled into his home but struggles to maintain it, especially when it comes to finances. He has rent arrears and other related debts.

Luke feels that he has been shunned throughout his life, which has led to low self-esteem and confidence. He feels that he is different to other people and has been bullied and abused by others in the past. He does not have many friends and feels socially isolated.

He also has mental health issues. Luke’s GP has described him as having a personality or anxiety disorder as well as severe paranoia. He has borderline dyspraxia/dyslexia which does not affect his ability to learn. However, due to his mental health, Luke does consider himself to have a work-limiting health condition.

When he started the Building Better Opportunities programme Luke had been out of work for 4 weeks, following a history of falling in and out of employment.

His Personal Navigator has worked closely with Luke, including:

  • Providing regular face-to-face support and text and phone call reminders
  • Helping Luke to secure specialist mental health support
  • Accompanying him to a local mental health support group
  • Arranging a volunteering opportunity with a Medieval re-enactment group
  • Arranging for specialist advice and training around budgeting skills and managing debt
  • Helping Luke to set up a realistic payment plan to reduce his arrears with his housing association
  • Supporting him to gain the skills, knowledge and ability to apply and secure appropriate work for himself
  • Providing assistance and funds to apply for a provisional driving licence as the first step in a process to having his own transport
  • Setting Luke up on the Wheels 2 Work scheme in order to secure transport for work

These efforts have paid off. Luke recently secured employment and started work in a warehouse for 30+ hours a week.

His only issue is travel to and from work – he starts at 4am and has to travel six miles to work. Luke is so determined that he initially walked there. He can now get a lift but still has to walk two miles to his friend’s house.

When Luke has received his provisional licence it will be taken forward to the Wheels 2 Work scheme where Luke will be supported to learn to ride a scooter and set up a payment plan to purchase a scooter at minimal cost.

Luke has now come off all benefits, has set up a payment plan with his housing association and has reduced his debts. Luke said: “I’m managing my mental health. At the moment things are OK as I don’t have time to over-think everything anymore. I’m better off being busy”.

We have changed Luke's name to protect his anonymity.