I am so grateful to Opportunity Suffolk


Darren tells us how our Opportunity Suffolk programme helped him to secure a new job.

In late 2018, I had to stop work due to ill health. I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy - a condition that can lead to heart failure - which was a bit of a shock for a 35-year-old man! It was a traumatic time. I left work, had to leave my flat and moved back in with my parents.

The main symptoms were fatigue, and I needed a year’s recovery time. That’s a lot of time to think, but health-wise I couldn’t consider working.

Searching for a job

Eventually, I found the motivation to start considering searching for a job again. My old job was physically demanding shift work, and I knew I couldn’t go back to that.

I had a more nine-to-five situation in mind. Through my weekly Jobcentre appointment, I was introduced to Theresa from Opportunity Suffolk, and she suggested some work experience at the Jobcentre. This boosted my confidence massively. When I was a kid, I had a stammer, and it had returned, but got better when I was dealing with people daily. I slowly got my confidence back.

I am forever grateful

I was still applying for other jobs and must have gone to at least half a dozen interviews, but it was always "Thanks, but no thanks". I was finally offered a job back at the Jobcentre, and I’m really enjoying it - it suits me in terms of my health, and I’ve been able to get a new flat!

Two years of unemployment due to ill health was a real struggle, but help is out there. Disability can happen to anyone, but there are people who can help you get back to work. It was just what I needed, and I’m forever grateful.