Dan’s inspiring story began after a life changing injury. Realising he wanted to help people, he began volunteering for Richmond Fellowship in Maidenhead where he now works as a Team Leader

When I was 22 I took time off to go on holiday and move into my new house. First day of holiday I was assaulted and pushed off a cliff. I was in a coma for over a week in Gran Canaria before being flown back to the UK where I was in hospital for another month. When I came out of there I began physiotherapy. I had to relearn how to read, write, walk and talk and all that kind of stuff again. It took the best part of a year at least.

Then after doing that for a year or so I was in my brain injury rehab centre and I was talking to my psychologist at the time and there was a magazine on her table for HR monthly and the guy on the front was the HR manager for Scope and he looked like me, so I thought ‘i’m going to do that’.

When I started getting into HR properly I was getting full time permanent roles, short term contracts, long term contracts, but I kept losing the jobs all the time whether short contracts expired or temp work was cut.

I went to see the director of the brain injury foundation I was at and said “I’m stuck” I’, losing my job left right and centre in HR and he said to me: ‘right, you’ve had a brain injury. HR is not what you want to be doing. You do realise that for the last 45 minutes all you’ve said is how you want to help people. Help people.”

I came here as a volunteer and got admin work very quickly as they were short staffed at the time. About 6 months later I actually got the job permanently. I was working 2 days admin as well as the community link worker role.

Then my manager left and she asked me to apply for her job as team leader, which I did and I’ve been doing that for nearly 6 months.

It gives me immense satisfaction. I was in the peer support group this morning and they said: “why do you do your job?” and I said it’s the satisfaction you feel from achieving something.

You’ve helped someone go from there to there and helped them so they feel more able and stable to do stuff on their own. That sense of achievement is absolutely priceless.

You have people come back and say “thank you for the support you’ve given me over the years” and you think ‘yknow what, i’ve done something good.”

The process of being there for someone who is unwell and helping them through the stages to get them back to the place where they actually feel comfortable to participate in groups, get back into work or build up their social networks; it’s just so rewarding, it really is. I was there three/four years ago and it’s services like this that are so needed.