“There are a lot of opportunities that the foodbank can offer other than just a can of baked beans.”
Paul was running a successful carpentry business abroad, but when his mum passed away it turned his life upside down. Struggling to manage with the pain of loss and having to deal with a number of other serious family problems, Paul saw his mental health deteriorate.
He explained: “I suffered with anxiety, depression and severe panic attacks and I just couldn’t find the ability to work.”
Unable to cope, he was forced to abandon his business. With no income, he was unable to afford food. “I was nervous and embarrassed about going to the foodbank but there was nothing to be ashamed of,” admits Paul.
But it wasn’t just food that the foodbank was able to support him with. Staff encouraged Paul to get involved with volunteering at their furniture bank, this helped him to rebuild his confidence in a work environment again. He explained: “I started repairing some of the furniture and then we moved on to setting up a social enterprise.”
The scheme offers an affordable home maintenance service in the local community, which Paul enjoys being part of. He said: “It helps rebuild people’s lives, not just their homes. And it’s helping me to get back on my feet.”
Paul is very grateful for the support of the foodbank and he is now able to focus on his future: “It was a hard struggle but the foodbank helped me get back into work. I’m just hoping to show that there is hope for other people too.”