‘I get up every morning and look forward to going to my work’

GHA tenant Cameron Docherty didn’t know where to turn after he lost his job as a delivery driver and got into financial difficulties.

Jordan Penny and Cameron Docherty

Then his housing officer told him about Wheatley Group’s Changing Lives training programme – and Cameron hasn’t looked back.

Now he has a secure job, a steady income and a promising career in Wheatley’s environmental teams.

“It’s great,” says Cameron, who served in the Army in Afghanistan. “I get up every morning and look forward to going to my work.”

Changing Lives offers a one-year environmental-based work placement in Wheatley communities cleaning closes, cutting grass and hedges and maintaining common areas.

The programme includes training, including a Chartered Institute of Housing level 2 qualification, and pays the Living Wage.

Since Changing Lives started in 2016, 230 people have taken up a place on the programme, with many going on to secure full-time jobs with Wheatley and elsewhere.

Cameron, 55, from Croftfoot, is now working full-time with GHA after 10 months on the programme.

He added: “This job gives me financial security and means I can make a difference to people.

“There are really good training opportunities too – basic computer skills, health and safety, management skills. There are a lot of courses you can apply for.

“Tenants often ask me how they could get on Changing Lives and I always tell them to talk to their housing officer.”

Jordan Penny came through the programme and is now a team leader in the north east of Glasgow.

Jordan, 24, from Milton, said: “It’s been great for my confidence.

“After nine months on the programme I was made full-time. That made me feel like I had something to offer, that I was capable.

“I got help to prepare for interviews and landed a team leader job in 2019. There’s a career ladder at Wheatley. If you’re willing to work, people will help you progress.

“The confidence I got through the programme has helped me outside work too. It’s even made me a better father.”

Changing Lives is run by Wheatley Foundation, Wheatley Group’s charitable trust.

Foundation manager Lynne Mitchell said: “The difference the programme makes to people’s lives comes through really strongly.

“Working outdoors is good for people’s physical and mental health. It’s also a career, not just a job.

“But the impact is often wider with real benefits for people’s families and neighbours too.

“Others in the community see people progressing, developing their career, taking driving lessons, maybe going on family holidays for the first time in years.

“It’s a powerful message – and it shows other people there are opportunities for them to progress too.”

Changing Lives is available to tenants of GHA, Cube, Loretto Housing, Dunedin Canmore and West Lothian Housing Partnership.

Any tenant interested should speak to their housing officer.

Pictured above are Jordan Penny, left, and Cameron Docherty.

Friday, March 12, 2021