After twelve years with the same employer, Ken, 61, found himself out of work soon after having a stroke. Ken, who grew up in Wellington in Shropshire, also suffers from depression.
Ken’s life changed when he walked into one of the Digital Dens, opened through an innovative partnership between Severnside Housing and Community Interest Company Social Telecoms. The Dens offer IT tuition, job skills and a gateway into employment and work placements for residents. The partnership also provides low-cost, estate-wide Wi-Fi and affordable computers in surrounding communities.
"I was sitting on the sofa, wondering what had happened to my life. I’d probably still be there if my brother-in-law hadn’t brought me to Severnside Housing’s Digital Den in Meole Brace.
"I've never had anything to do with computers before and I had a horrible time at junior school, which put me off classrooms. I don’t think I’d have gone to college but this is different, it’s my neighbourhood. It’s not like school and they have made me feel at home.
"The world is changing; everything you need to do is on a computer today. It’s been a matter of getting my confidence up. The first thing I did online was catch-up with Casualty – it’s my favourite programme.
"Once I’d learned how to use a computer the people at the Digital Den started to show me how I could use it to help me find work. We went online together and found a vacancy. It feels good to be back in work, having a purpose and a reason to get out of the house.
"Although I’ve got a job now, I’ll keep coming to the Digital Den. I’ve got a lot to learn and there’s a part of me that still wants to prove my teachers wrong. The people here feel like friends."
We're supporting the #CommunitiesThatWork campaign, seeking to raise awareness for the work that the social housing sector does to help people into employment. Pledge your support now!