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Mark’s Story

Mark’s Story

Mark Domestic Abuse

Hi, my name is Mark and I am sixty three years old and I live with my wife. I was referred into the Community Wellbeing service by my Journey Guide as I needed support to improve my reading and writing, support to fill out forms and support to maximise my income, including asking for a mandatory reconsideration on my Personal Independent Payment.

I worked full-time in a workshop polishing car parts. I enjoyed my job and worked there for many years until I was told that there was going to be a reduction in the number of staff and some staff would be transferred into another role. I was transferred to an office and was given the task of inputting data onto a computer. This is when I lost all confidence in myself as I could not read and write and in the past I have been diagnosed with dyslexia and I was too embarrassed to disclose this to my employer. This caused me high anxiety as financially I needed to be in work and as a proud man I wanted to provide for my family. The only way I was able to manage my role at work was to copy the work from the staff member who I sat next too. I felt that the staff member knew I was struggling but it was never discussed.

Eventually I was made redundant, and I applied for many jobs but was not successful. I found it very difficult to apply for jobs due to my poor reading and writing skills and I struggled to fill out application forms. My anxiety increased and had a major impact on my mental wellbeing. My physical health had also deteriorated, and I suffered from arthritis and my mobility was poor. I was in a lot of pain, and this added to my mental health. I felt ashamed that my wife was going to work, and I could not provide for her.

The Job Centre referred me to Accelerate, and my Journey Guide completed an assessment, and I was referred into the Community Wellbeing Service at Valley House.

I was supported to ask for a mandatory reconsideration on my PIP as I had only been awarded standard care. This was reviewed and I was awarded enhanced mobility and enhanced care. When I opened the letter, I was in shock but so very grateful as I felt my disability had been acknowledged. This reduced my stress levels as I felt more financially stable. As I had been awarded mobility element, I was supported to apply for a Blue Disability badge which helped with my mobility being able to park close to the shops. I was then able to contact DVLA and I no longer have to pay car tax. I was supported to contact the local council and I was granted a designated mobility parking bay. Again, this helped with my mobility being able to park outside of my house.

At this point I felt my anxiety had reduced and in the past when my health was good, I had enjoyed drawing but due to my anxiety and mental wellbeing I had not engaged in this hobby for many years but felt like I wanted to start drawing again. I was supported to join Arts for Wellbeing which was online. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and it again reduced my stress levels further. I now love going into the garden and painting and drawing nature.

I have attended a reading and writing course in Coventry and feel more confident and I am less embarrassed to talk about my dyslexia.

Overall, I feel less stressed, I have accepted life and I feel more motivated.

My Valley House support worker has had feedback from my journey guide who has said

‘’Thanks for all you have done with Mark. I met with him yesterday and he is in a much better position than when I met with him before and a large part of that is down to the support you have given.” – Katie

I am now due to end with the service at Valley House and as a Thank You I have donated one of my drawings to Valley House.

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