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Newground helps make life more positive

Michael from Burnley, was referred to Newground’s More Positive Together team at a time when he felt at rock bottom.

After a successful career as an engineer in the aerospace industry, he was made redundant. Struggling to stay afloat, he took out a £20,000 loan on top of mounting credit card debt. The financial strain took a toll on his marriage and, shortly after his wife left, sadly lost his brother to cancer.

When he was threatened with repossession for failing to make his mortgage repayments and potentially facing homelessness, Michael recognised he was struggling with not only financial hardship but also depression, for which he was prescribed medication.

Michael said: “I used to wake up with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Everything was a chore. Even the simplest thing was a mammoth task. I didn’t have any enthusiasm and I didn’t care about anything. I actually contemplated the quickest and least painful way to kill myself.”

Michael was referred from the job centre to the Sustainable Communities team at Newground, who helped him to move into a more affordable rented flat and file a stay of execution. This enabled him to put his property up for sale to maximise the equity and pay off his creditors.

The team also supported Michael on the path to employment via More Positive Together, a Lancashire-wide European Social Fund project which aims to help 2,250 people improve their skills and employment prospects. With a degree in chemistry and work experience as an engineer in the aerospace industry, Michael just needed the right opportunity to help him back into work.

Michael’s mental health has now improved, he has sold his house and is waiting to hear back from a job interview.

Ian Whittaker, Senior Sustainable Communities Officer at Newground, said: “Michael’s story goes to show that unemployment and homelessness could potentially happen to any one of us. Like many social housing tenants, he has a strong work ethic and determination to succeed but circumstances beyond his control meant he lost not only his job but also his support network so he quickly spiralled into depression. With the right guidance and support, he has been able to rebuild his life and regain his confidence and is now looking forward to the future.”

*Michael’s name has been changed to protect his identity.


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