Seeing a future emerge:

With many thanks to Henry Smith Foundation for enabling us to run Eight Choices programmes benefiting 84 beneficiaries (aged 18 – 60 years old) between April 2018 – March 2019.

Many thanks also to other trusts part-funding this programme - Garfield Weston, Edwards Gostling Foundation, Santander and Archer Trust.

A support worker from the Job Centre said of her client who attending our recent Thornhill course said.  "The transformation has been amazing, he is so much more positive and wants to do more things, he has enrolled onto an IT course which he would never have considered before."

Our course also enabled new relationships through the group exercises as people started to interact with each other. Sharing their stories many people realised they were not alone. This social interaction helped to build a support network beyond the course.

One of the models that we use throughout the course is C.A.R.S.

C - Competence– helping people understand their strengths, skills and how to pursue their goals,

A - Autonomy– overcoming barriers, taking control and setting goals,

R - Relatingto others – in a friendly environment through group work and community involvement

S- Self-worth– challenging negative beliefs and developing a healthy mind set.

Some examples of how the C.A.R.S.model worked for candidates individually follow below:

C - Competences:

Nikita was depressed and suicidal, he had contacted the Samaritans to help with his negative thoughts. NM identified skills and strengths during the course that boosted his self-esteem. His new-found self-esteem helped him overcome his primary fear which was rejection. The exercises enabled him to develop strategies to overcome that fear which has also resulted in improving his relationships. NM is now working for Zenergi, an energy company in Southampton. 

A - Autonomy

Jay’s autonomy was being governed by his fear of germs and vomiting. The second week into the course he had a cup of tea. Third week he had crisps and the fourth week a sandwich. The course exercises helped him manage his fears which enabled him to attend a training course in Bristol, having never ventured out of Southampton was a huge step forward. “My partner, parents and children have noticed a huge difference in me” “I said let’s go to MacDonald’s” normally JP would go but wouldn’t eat. Now JP is managing his fears which has improved relationships with his family. “She loves the changes in me” “I can get involved more”. The training in Bristol has given JP the skills necessary to secure a job as a security guard at Tesco’s and Boots. Getting a job has increased his self-esteem through not relying on benefits and providing for his family.

R - Relating:

Elliott was suffering from social anxiety and found it difficult interacting with people, spending a lot of time in his room at home playing games. The course enabled EP to increase his self-esteem through increased confidence from socialising in the group. His parents noticed a change, “I’m more talkative with others and I’m not using the X-box so much and socialising more” EP recognised he key strength was driving and with the ability to communicate more freely, he has now has a job as a driver for a plumbing company in Winchester giving him back his independence.


Gareth was isolating himself but during the course he learned that speaking up is important and listening to others helps you gain new insights”. Learning how to connect with people increased Gareth’s confidence. He now has a full-time job with Lidl working in the distribution centre as a warehouse worker. This is very different from the job he had before with HSBC. The course highlighted a need for satisfaction from completing practical tasks that have a visual result. GH used the coaching sessions to tackle specific challenges he was facing which has significantly impacted the way his mind works, he is now less reactive and able to articulate his views without causing conflict. He has also found new ways to relate to different people, new interactions have supported new healthy core beliefs, improving his self- worth. GH’s main concerns stemmed from being bullied in the workplace so finding a way to connect with his peers, tackle the fear of bullying GH to control over his life again.

Our outcomes remain consistently high across all participants and are detailed below:

Area Ave scores on first day Last day Change % improvement % people improved
Job search goals 12.64 17.4 4.8 38% 84%
Less anxious 12.6 6.32 -5.9 -35% 84%
Less depressed 14.5 8.1 -6.2 -31% 81%
More Confidence 11.5 15.6 4.12 34% 81%
More Self Esteem 12.6 17.8 5.24 47% 82%

Hard Outcomes:
So far 51% of candidates have gone into employment, training or work experience so far. We anticipate that this figure will rise as we continue to monitor their progress.

Angela (45)

Within weeks of the our February Thornhill course finishing, Angela has been offered her dream job as a Family Support Worker at a good Care Home.

She says, “The Choices course is brilliant, and you learn to look at things in a different light and become more positive and inspirational.  I have learnt more about myself and other people’s reactions and why people say or do what they do.

It has made me more open-minded to think out of the box and how to become more positive than negative. It gives you some tools to promote yourself for CVS and jobs and opens up ideas of things to do.  I have realised how many more skills that I have than I thought I had.

I was into sales - selling houses or double glazing  but I haven’t worked properly for 14 years.  In that time, I have I lost my mum, have had three spine ops, got divorced, been homeless. I was very lost before I came on this course but  I am coming through all that now. Church been helpful.  It has been supportive as there is always somebody there and people you can go to speak to about things you wouldn’t talk about to most people.

I couldn’t go back full-time as it was 90 hours per week and those sorts of jobs aren’t an option now. I would like to become a support worker.

The trainers are brilliant trainers, very easy going, understanding and fun.  If you want to do better and be more positive, then I would definitely recommend the course.  The best bit has been opening your mind to things and learning to think in a different way.


Richard (57)

Since the February 2019 course, Richard has been offered a permanent job at Oasis Down to Earth Farm in Green Lane, Millbrook.  Part-time to start with,  Richard will be caring for the animals and doing some gardening..

He said, “Until this course  there were things I hadn’t talked about it, not even to my family. We were complete strangers at the beginning and within a day I started talking about it.  It made me feel a lot better. It is not good to keep it to yourself and it was good to talk about it.

“My confidence is better. I have been talking about some things that I haven’t talked about to other people such as my car accident in 2016.   I was riding my bike to work when a car care overtook a van, hit me and sent me flying.  I still have whiplash. I had nightmares that first year and wouldn’t get on a bike for a year.  I couldn’t cross a road.  It affected me mentally, but I forced myself back on a bike and have been cycling since.

I am going to go back to volunteering at the end of March.  I like gardening work and working with animals and would like a mixture. Mucking out and cleaning one week and another week it is gardening.

The best bit for me is the manual. Yesterday was Interesting also. I got up and had to present for our group about marketing our product. I had to be confident about what we had to say about it.   The throwing the ball exercise was fun.

The course has been very good. First, I have met some nice friends and found it really enjoyable.  The group activities are fun also. I have recommended to course to others at the job club.  There was a row of us at the job club and 8- 10 of us said how good this course was. I am very happy at the moment.