I arrived in West Devon with one suit case, I knocked on my mother’s door, I had nowhere else I could go – it was that or women’s refuge, or if i stayed at home any longer the hospital. I spent 3 months scared of everything but decided I had to get a job. I managed to get a minimum wage shop job an hour bus ride away. I was like a chocolate tea pot but couldn’t tell them why, I did my best but it was exhausting. This job helped me get a flat and with the help of tax credits and housing benefit i could start to pay my own way. I didn’t have a stick of furniture, not even a bed but I could lock the door and for the first time in years I felt safe.
I worked out it was costing me a £100 in bus fairs a month and 8 hours travel time, I thought it’s time for me get a minimum wage job locally, it would save me money and time. I found an amazing job that before all this had happened I would have been great at, it was professional and used everything i had worked towards in the past and payed well. The problem was it was part time and I would lose all my benefits. I wasn’t going to make ends meet. I went for it any way, I could spend 2 years stacking shelves or I could do something good with my life. I got it the job, I just could not believe it. I decided I would clean, wash dishes, send the tax man crazy by having more than one job and work all I could to make this work.
Eventually I found a part-time job that used my counseling and people skills and would cover the cost of living. I got the job, but had one small problem, I needed my own transport. Being in a controlling relationship, he didn’t want me driving so I didn’t have a licence. I looked up driving courses but they were £1000 some times more money.
I had met the wheels 2 work team at a charity thing we did, it got me thinking out side the box of cars which were so out of my reach. I would not be able to afford the tax, insurance, petrol let alone buy one. I booked to do my CBT AND PASSED! I have never felt so proud of myself. I called wheels 2 work and within a week I was on a bus to get my bike. Riding home that night was the most alive I had felt in years, I got through my door and wept. The staff were so helpful and encouraging, they didn’t treat me like i was stupid, they helped me understand the kit i needed. I knew that if I had any questions or any problems they would help me out and that they would make sure my bike was as safe as it could be.
I call the bike Gabriel. Not just because every bike rider needs a guardian angel but because you have to have faith, faith that you can handle the road, faith you can trust your instincts, that you can asses risk and danger and keep yourself safe. I have learnt through riding Gabriel that I can have faith in my self to handle what ever life throws at me.
Gabriel has helped me feel connected to other people, enabled me to help others and because of wheels 2 work I got my life back and I have learnt to trust my self again. Thank you
F.B, aged 46