When I was 8yrs old I attended a Special Unit in London for children with emotional and behavioural problems. My mum was substance and alcohol dependent and my school couldn’t cope with me. My dad looked after me at weekends and I settled down in the unit in the week. After a year I moved to a special residential school in Gloucestershire. At first this was difficult as I was only interested in playing electronic games and became angry and aggressive when I couldn’t. I eventually changed after going back home one holiday and listening to my dad’s records. He was mad about rock and played it all the time. I found that I enjoyed it too and that, for once, my life had meaning. I became hooked on collecting CDs and made a life plan to become a DJ. When I went back to school, I wasn’t interested in electronic games and was much happier. I wanted to do lessons and learn as this would help me achieve my dream. After this, I attended a college for young people with complex needs and then, at 20yrs, moved into an independent flat supported by OPENhouse in Stroud.
“I am now 30 years old, live in my own flat and work regularly as a DJ in a local pub.”
OPENhouse helped me realise this dream. With their support I learned how to look after myself and get the right accommodation. As well as life skills, staff helped me deal with health and personal safety issues such as noisy neighbours and identity fraud. More importantly I learned how to problem solve and ask for help when I did not know what to do. In the past, I would punish myself by banging my head or walking into a road if I could not do something. I now understand that there is always more than one way to deal with things and often it’s just about finding the right person or right information to help you. OPENhouse staff saw this and the importance of my DJ dream. They helped me purchase the right equipment and gave me training with Rob, their Music Tutor, to develop my music technology skills. I produced a sample disk, personal profile and Flyers which I distributed to local pubs. This led to the offer of gigs and now, with this experience I have the confidence to do new things and aim high. My next goal is to move back to London to live near my father and family and, of course, work as a DJ, and, eventually buy my own house. If you have a dream – dream and live it.