Gareth Jones is employed as an Engagement and Support Worker with Kaleidoscope, an organisation providing support to children, young people and adults with drug or alcohol problems in Powys. Gareth’s first contact with Kaleidoscope however was under very different circumstances.
After working as a registered nurse for over 22 years Gareth became sole carer for his elderly mother. After she passed away, stress along with other issues in his life led to depression and substance misuse, particularly with alcohol.
Realising that things were spiralling out of control Gareth took responsibility for his recovery. “I approached a couple of support groups along the way including Kaleidoscope” said Gareth. “It was a very hard year but the one-to-one encouragement I received and the group sessions with SMART recovery, and a four day course with Intuitive Recovery, were invaluable” he added.
The next step was to look for work and eventually, Gareth was referred on to the Work Programme delivered by Trac Employment Services in Powys and Carmarthenshire. According to Janet, his adviser: “Gareth always had a good positive attitude about returning to work. He had his own ideas and lots of experience”. For Gareth, being able to talk through those ideas helped him focus on what he could achieve.
Throughout this time Gareth had been volunteering with Kaleidoscope in Welshpool. Says Team Leader, Caroline Harding: “Gareth worked hard to overcome his problems. He was so enthused by his recovery that he was soon training to become one of our Volunteer Peer Mentors.”
During his time as a volunteer Gareth was instrumental in motivating other service users. He also became an active member of the All Wales Service User Movement (AWSUM) helping to give a voice to service users across Powys.
When a permanent position became available at Kaleidoscope, Gareth didn’t think twice about grabbing the opportunity. Caroline Harding is proud of his success and readily acclaims the former client as a valued member of the Kaleidoscope team.
Says Gareth: “My work entails being the first point of contact for those coming to us for help in their struggle to get their lives in order again. Doing my best to support and nurture them is my way of showing how grateful I am to both Trac and Kaleidoscope. Without them, I wouldn’t like to think where I’d be today. Certainly not here.”