Martin Kitara

Laying the foundations

April 21, 2017 :: 3.51pm
Tommy and Fred 2

 “I’m being upskilled to work for a contractor. They’re impressed with my work and the qualifications St Mungo’s client, Tommy, shares with Communications Officer, Martin,  the story of how learning new skills has helped transform his life.

 Sometimes I think that it’s hard to explain how things can fall into place. Life was rather turbulent and it wasn’t working out well. My decision making wasn’t great either.

I hurt people along the way and eventually I was alone and would stare at the four walls around me trying to find a way out.

There were things, like my mental health, that I needed to face and learn to manage. But accepting these things was the first challenge which I never seemed to overcome.

I had engaged in services of different sorts from all different places but nothing clicked. Then I met Fred who volunteers at St Mungo’s Bricks and Mortar Project. I haven’t looked back since.

‘I’ve got something to give’

I started off learning the basics. Fred taught me all the skills I know today but he also taught me the value in not cutting corners. I have full respect for him. It didn’t matter how slowly or fast I was learning things, everything was at my pace. He gave me his time and trusted me – my confidence has grown.

It’s often strange to look back but I remember how I felt when I came through the doors for the first time – so worried I was going to be judged and made a fool out of myself that I’d get embarrassed and angry and then walk out, planning never to return.

Now, I can honestly say that my life has changed because of the Bricks and Mortar project.

People come to me for advice – it’s amazing. I can pass things on now and help others. I’ve got something to give.

I’m being upskilled to work for a contractor. They’re impressed with my work and the qualifications that St Mungo’s provides at Bricks and Mortar. It means that I can work. There are now more strings to my bow and I am building relationships, including with my family.

When my mum said she was proud of me…well…what can I say?

A recovery focus for clients

Learning can be transformative and help people experiencing homelessness to recover.

The Bricks and Mortar project is part of  the St Mungo’s Multi Skills Centre – our vocational training projects that focus on upskilling clients in areas like construction, gardening and horticulture, bike repairs and maintenance.

Our Train and Trade projects also include our Music Studio, Business Start-Up project and ReVive, a painting, decorating and refurbishing social enterprise. All of the projects have a specific recovery focus for clients.

Many of St Mungo’s clients want work and know that skills and employment are crucial for a life away from homelessness. These projects make the most of our clients’ vocational skills whilst also addressing their mental health or substance use problems.

On average the centre works with over 250 clients a year and this number set to rise to 400 in 2017.

How you can help

We rely on the kindness of our supporters and volunteers to help run and fund these projects.

If you’re interested in the work we do to help our clients like Tommy and want to do more, here’s how you can get involved:

There is a lot happening at St Mungo’s. Sign up to our e-newsletters and we’ll email you regular news to keep you up to date with everything that is going on.


Posted in Client blogs, Hostels, shelters & projects, Recovery from homelessness, Uncategorized, Volunteering

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