Pillar gave Ben strength to change his life

Pillar gave Ben strength to change his life

Ben Powis

Teenager Ben Powis felt down and out, suffering anxiety and depression with no hopes, drive, dreams or aspirations for the future. He was fast heading down a slippery slope to nowhere.

Turn the clock forward and the 19-year-old now tells a completely different story. He has a job, money in his pocket, is brimming with confidence and is looking forward to his future with a great deal of optimism. 

Ben’s life transformed thanks to the support of the Prince’s Trust’s Personal Development Programme delivered by City of Wolverhampton College and he is a glowing example of the type of person who could benefit from a 12-week course covering things like CV writing, improving life skills, team building exercises and fundraising activities.

Before his life-changing experience, the teenager was studying for a career in agriculture and admits he brought a lot of his problems on himself.

“I admit I was a bit mouthy, I didn’t make life easy for myself so people started to give it back,” explained Ben, a Severnside Housing tenant, who lives with his family in Shrewsbury. “I then had a few issues with bullying which brought on anxiety and depression.

“I wouldn’t get out of bed until 4pm, claimed Employment Support Allowance and then I was signed off sick too. I wasn’t doing anything with my life – I felt like a down and out.”

Then there was hope when Severnside Housing’s tenant magazine Pillar landed on his doorstep. In it he read about the Prince’s Trust 12-week course, run by City of Wolverhampton College, which inspired him into action.

“I thought yes, a chance to change my life so I enrolled,” said the former pupil of The Corbet School in Baschurch. “After a week of ice-breaking activities I just all of a sudden started feeling better. I felt like all of a sudden my life was changing for the better – a purpose for me at last.”

His course came to an end in January this year and, by the time it had finished, he didn’t recognise himself.

Ben, who now has a part time job as assistant manager at Roden Nurseries near Shrewsbury, said: “I was a completely different person who was fit for work.

“Everyone needs that helping hand or a chance to see how they can live their lives better. It often takes just being given the opportunity and I’m lucky to have had that.”

To find out how to enrol on the Prince’s Trust programme ring 01902 836000.

To find out about Severnside Housing’s new Learning Programme visit www.severnsidehousing.co.uk or phone 0300 300 0059.

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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