It has been a tough few years for Philip Carden.
Philip has struggled to find work and was left heartbroken following the deaths of close family members.
But today Philip is a changed man, thanks to his passion for gardening and photography. Now, with the help of Weaver Vale’s Work and Enterprise team, Philip is hoping to use his interests to get back into employment.
Philip is just one of the many of customers who have been helped by team, who are dedicated to helping customers get back into work and training.
“It has been a tough few years, but I think I’m on the right track,” he said
“I was approached by Lyn Hamlett at Weaver Vale Housing Trust. We talked about various courses and what I would like to do. I’ve always had a passion for gardening and photography and I am very keen to use these as a platform to get into work.”
Philip has undertaken a voluntary placement with the River Weaver Navigation Society, working hard to improve the area around the Winsford Marina building, and welcoming canal boaters to the town. He also used his photography skills to enhance the charity’s website.
He said: “I have been lucky enough to get some really good training here. I’ve done courses which have focused on Maths, English and IT- including how to use Social Media. We have also looked at other skills such as problem solving and writing skills which has given me a real base to work from.”
Philip is also a dab hand at social media now thanks to the digital courses he has attended, and is using various platforms to showcase his work far and wide.
Philip added: “I’ve been looking at getting my photography out there on social media. It’s a great platform to showcase my work.
“Getting online has really opened up new opportunities for me, both in terms of work and my social life. I have been getting good feedback online for my photos and it has given me a real confidence boost. It’s a great way to network and I’m hopeful that it will lead to something for me. If I can make a living from doing something I love, then I’ll be a happy man.”
Philip was his mother’s carer, and he admits losing two close family members in a short space of time hit him hard.
“I was lost. I’d lived with them my entire life and wasn’t sure where to turn. When my mother passed away I didn’t claim anything for a year. I was really worried about losing the house but Weaver Vale’s support has been first class.
“Lyn has worked with me to look at my finances as well. We have managed to get benefits I didn’t know I was entitled and I’ve also managed to save money on my utility bills.
“As a person I’m in a much better place. If my family were still alive they probably wouldn’t recognise me – I’ve got a lot more responsibilities now. I have lived in my house since I was born but as I am now the main tenant – you have to look at things differently.
“I try to stand on my own two feet and I’ll only ask for help if I need it. My mentor has been brilliant with me, Lyn has given me the confidence to go out there and look for work and I can’t thank them enough.”
Lyn Hamlett has been Philip’s mentor throughout this process, and is pleased with how far he has come
She said: “Philip is a different person now. He’s had his fair share of knocks recently but he has really grown in confidence. As his work has started to get noticed it has given him a real sense of purpose - there is a chance for him to thrive doing something that he loves. We are also getting Philip some valuable work experience which is helping on the road back into employment.”
You can read more about Philip’s story here