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Posted on Mar 25 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A patient with long-term mental health issues has started his “integration back into community” by being given a retail position in a charity shop.

Yusuf has started carrying out external vocational experience with Willen Hospice charity shop in Olney where he is helping customers, stock control, merchandising, pricing items, operating the till and even mandatory E-Learning.

At the moment, he is working there once a week and is gaining valuable customer service experience, as well as being part of a workforce once again.

Not only is this role helping to build up Yusuf’s confidence again, but it will also be included on his CV along with a reference from the company, which will help endear him to prospective employers when he eventually leaves St Andrew’s.

In addition, the work he is doing will go towards achieving an AQA Award, which is part of the Unit Award Scheme. This provides participants with an important pathway so they can receive accreditation for their achievements.

Yusuf said: “I am really happy to be gaining this work experience and to be back working in the community again. Not only am I learning new things every time I come in, but it’s getting me off the ward and giving me the opportunity to meet new people. I am loving working in the shop and want to thank Willen Hospice charity shop for them believing in me.”

Shop manager Kerry Harris:Yusuf has fitted in really well. He was happy and willing to undertake the tasks asked of him and he was very polite to our customers. He seems to have a good positive attitude, and will make a great volunteer, so it’s great to have him on board.”

Sarah Jackson, Nurse Manager for Acorn ward: “Yusuf has worked hard throughout his recovery to gain skills and has used every opportunity to better his future within Acorn, the charity and wider community.

“Yusuf is highly engaged and has made huge strides during his work experience to develop new skills and gain confidence and self-belief. It has been a pleasure to observe his growth and development. His pending discharge into the community will see these transferable skills embed further still into his college course and work experience”. 

This partnership has been made possible through Edwin Dean, who teaches in Adult Education.

Edwin said “Accompanying Yusuf every week to support him I have seen him grow hugely in confidence. It’s wonderful to see the capacity to perform his duties reaching its potential, his sense of humour and his interpersonal skills are improving with every visit. Yusuf is not fazed with the size of the charity shop which boasts furniture and homeware on one floor and a fashion boutique on the second floor, well done.”