Four years ago Trevor had it all. A dream job working in a top London hotel as a Food and Beverage Manager, a busy social life, and a career in the tough fast-paced catering industry which was going from strength to strength.
Click here to watch a short film about Trevor.
But life changed when Trevor acquired a brain injury.
During a busy shift working at the hotel colleagues noticed a change in Trevor. He started bumping into doors and tripping over his foot before eventually losing all feeling down his left hand side. People thought he was having a stroke. A frightened Trevor was rushed into hospital.
A scan showed a parasite had got into his brain … treatment was immediate but Trevor was suffering. He lost all cognitive skills and had no concept of time. In his words: "I felt vulnerable and scared."
He spent more than two months in hospital battling the parasite with antibiotics. Very slowly he started getting feeling back down the left side of his body. It was a lengthy process.
Parasites like Trevor’s can block capillaries and cause encephalopathy, a condition that can cause cognitive losses, memory problems, personality changes, and more. Trevor is still in the dark about how and exactly when he was infected, but it’s something that could happen to anyone.
It was during his recovery in hospital when Trevor realised he could not go back to his old job … he was too weak and what happened changed him.
"I loved the buzz of working in hotels, but it was stressful and I worked long hours. I knew I could not go back.
"My illness affected me mentally, socially and financially…everything changed. My life changed.
Trevor heard about Thrive from a physiotherapist when he was in hospital.
"As soon as she (the physiotherapist) mentioned Thrive I knew it was for me," said Trevor, who had always liked gardening.
"For the first time I started feeling hopeful and after meeting the therapists was accepted onto the Working it Out programme. I started working in the Old English Garden in Battersea Park…it really was glorious.
"Thrive suited me right from the start. I settled in quickly and enjoyed learning again. I was already a keen gardener so to start on a proper learning programme where I could get a qualification was fantastic. I threw myself into everything."
With your help our therapists can work with more people like Trevor every year, giving them the confidence, support and skills they need to change their lives or get them back to where they want to be.
We organised work experience for Trevor which helped focus his mind on what he wanted to do after leaving us.
This led to an interview with David Lewis, the Head Gardener at The Roof Gardens where Trevor is employed two days a week.
You have given Trevor the powerful gift of gardening which has led to a new life.
But Trevor does have another ambition. "I’ve been thinking how great it would be to manage a garden centre with restaurant attached which uses all my skills in the catering and horticulture world. That would be the icing on the cake!"
Getting back into work
Thrive helps people prepare for the world of work in a supportive and understanding way.
According to a recent report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists on mental health and work, "…many people with mental health problems fear that, no matter how good a recovery they have made, their symptoms will be made worse by going back to work."
David Lewis, head gardener at The Roof Gardens, said: "It’s a pleasure to have Trevor work here…a good cause like Thrive deserves support."
"Everything is going so well for me; I just love working at this amazing place in the heart of London," said Trevor.
Trevor says the benefits of being in work for him include…
- an opportunity to build new friendships
- a greater sense of identity and purpose
- an improved financial situation and security
- a feeling that you’re playing an active part in society
- going back to work after a period of ill health has been a positive experience.
David Lewis, said: "It’s a pleasure to have Trevor work here…a good cause like Thrive deserves support."
And a last word from Trevor: "Everything is going so well for me; I just love working at this amazing place in the heart of London.
As you can see your help enables people like Trevor to get back into the workforce at a steady and gentle pace. You have done so much, but if you would like to do even more, here are some ideas of how your gift can help.
- £15 could pay for an hour’s session on CV writing and job searching
- £30 could pay for setting up a work placement
- £60 could pay for a group tuition session on interview skills
Thank you for caring.