Ricky was threatened with homelessness and ‘didn’t have anywhere to go’ at the start of this year.
The former welder was struggling to find housing following the Covid-19 pandemic and a relationship breakdown.
A friend recommended he get in touch with charity Crisis, where staff in turn told him about the employment opportunities available for soap artists at Labre’s Hope.
Ricky, aged 32, said: “I didn’t have anywhere to go, I wasn’t on the council housing waiting list.
“I was on a course when my friend Danny mentioned Crisis, so I did my research and got in touch, they helped me to get a flat.
“Then they said there was a job available making soap. I thought it would just be like a factory making mass produced products, I didn’t expect it to be so special and have so much support.”
Ricky’s work creating hand-poured, planet-friendly soaps and candles at Labre’s vibrant headquarters has given him something to get up for.
“It’s given me structure, which is important because I have had problems in the past with drugs, and a purpose in life.
“The team here really helps me as well.
It’s not like other jobs where you get the gaffer breathing down your neck to get things done. They want to help you too.”
Labre’s Hope was able to support Ricky with upfront housing costs which would be a huge barrier to anybody seeking new housing - and which he repaid through his living wage.
He has also taken part in our wraparound services such as wellbeing sessions.
And the team is supporting him in accessing crucial life facilities, such as an NHS dentist, again.
“Working here has made a huge difference to me”, he said.
“This is not just a place where you are making their soap and then they are selling it to make money.
“It’s all about supporting you on your journey.
“I wasn’t homeless on the streets when I came here, but not having anywhere to go is still a scary thing to think about all the time.”
In the last year Ricky has become interested in outdoor pursuits, from hiking to bouldering,
And he now has high ambitions for the future, too.
He is hoping to work within the industrial rope access industry once he has learned rope access and rig work so he can pursue his passion.
“Before I came to work at Labre’s Hope I couldn’t really think about the future.
“It has given me ambitions to work towards.”