Nick goes from homeless and unemployed to finding his own home and job in just three months

After being made homeless, a remarkable teenager has managed to turn his life around in a matter of months with a little help and support from Riverside.

Nick Lord came to Riverside’s The Stages Academy in Middlesbrough in December 2017, and since then has managed to overcome obstacles to get back on his feet.

Today, he is working in a job he loves and has moved in to his own home.

His achievement is even more inspiring because Nick has high functioning Autism and Tourette’s, but this didn’t stop him from fulfilling his goal to work in the retail industry.

Natalie Banks, Specialist Support Worker at The Stages, enrolled him on to a course run by The Prince’s Trust. Then following a successful interview, he did a four-week work placement with Marks and Spencer in Teesside.

19-year-old Nick said: “Natalie put me on to the course, which I was reluctant to do but I decided that I didn’t want to sit around doing nothing. At the store I worked in the food hall and menswear, although I enjoyed the food hall most of all because of the fast-paced environment and spent most of my placement working there. The staff are really supportive, help each other out and are down to earth. It is a good place to work.”

The retail store held a celebration at the end of the placement and Nick was presented with his certificates from the CEO of the retail giant. In addition he was offered a 12-week contract working in the food hall.

“Getting a job has given me more confidence, and has helped me meet new people. Having a job is far better than not working. Beforehand I wasn’t doing anything, but I needed to be productive and hands on to achieve my goals,” says Nick.

While at the homeless hostel, staff also helped him find his own place which he’s pleased to call home.  

Congratulating Nick on his success Natalie added: “Initially Nick was reluctant to complete the course but after encouragement, he knuckled down and impressed his employer. 

“Everyone at The Stages Academy is really happy and proud of Nick for gaining employment, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

The Stages Academy is a Places for Change scheme to homeless people or those at risk of homelessness with support needs. The scheme has trial flats to help people live independent lives, as well as prevent homelessness, reduce re-offending, promote health and well-being, and tackle exclusion.

You can find out more about The Stages Academy here.