Dean had been using drugs for 12 years when he became homeless in 2007, but, thanks to his involvement with Norwich City Council’s LEAP project, his life has been turned around.
Volunteering three days a week with the Salvation Army, Dean sought advice from LEAP – and it became clear that he had a passion for food and wanted to become a chef. Since then, he “has been a shining light of the project”, according to his nominator.
Referred to college, Dean undertook a training course in cooking and food preparation, but, told that he lacked the experience to undertake an NVQ Level 2 course, he secured part-time work in a professional kitchen 24 hours a week. With his studying and work, Dean also finds the time to help out with cookery classes with the Transform Project, which helps vulnerable adults in supported housing learn new skills.
“I have been helping the main tutor with all aspects of the course”, says Dean. “I enjoy giving something back and helping young people who are in the same situation as I was when I started out. I hope to fill them with confidence and stop them going down the path that I did. Learning has kept me on track. It has given me something in my life. It makes me feel like a better person and not a waste.”