The following is testimony from a graduate of Miss Macaroon’s MacsMAD (Macaroons that make a Difference) programme. The scheme offers support for long-term unemployed young people, aged 18-35 years old. During the ten week programme, trainees are given the opportunity to develop their confidence, gain work-experience and overcome barriers, including mental health issues and depression. The following trainee has requested to be made anonymous.
Life Before MacsMAD
Before MacsMAD, I didn’t really get employed. At the time, due to my mental health issues, I was told that I wasn’t good enough. That really upset me – I lost my confidence and self-esteem. Since MacsMAD, I feel accepted. I’m happy to have a job now.
MacsMAD: A Learning Experience
Throughout the MacsMAD scheme, I learned how to work in a team and be proactive. That’s a new one for me. I started doing things without being asked to. I started helping my teammates and got involved more. I didn’t want to be afraid of being me, and I was happy to have a support bubble around me. If I was stuck on something, I could always ask for help.
I also learned how to be more resilient and cope under pressure – especially with work in the kitchen!
MacsMAD: The Impact
Miss Macaroon’s MacsMAD scheme has changed my life. When I first started, I was nervous. I was scared to mention my anxiety, depression and other learning difficulties. I thought that if I said anything, I’d get kicked off the course. When I finally told Rosie, I was still treated like a human being.
Every day I came into Miss Macaroon, I grew. They made me believe that, in spite of any issues, I could achieve anything. I was constantly reassured. When I came in I was told ‘keep up the good work’. In the Kitchen I was told, ‘you’re doing a great job’. I was given the encouragement I needed. I felt like I could believe in myself. I was told not to let others judge me. Everybody’s different, but you are you. You’re special.
The more praise and support I got, the more I felt like the people at Miss Macaroon understood me. In other organisations I was judged in the first five minutes, but with MacsMAD I was told to be myself. It changed my life. I got motivated, and now I’m happy to say that I work.
MacsMAD: The Scheme
We started with inductions in the first week. We were encouraged to step out of our comfort zone. For example, if you were nervous or shy about working in the kitchen, you focused on figuring out how to complete the task. We focused on interview skills, and we made a five-year plan. They told us about different schemes.
We had talks about mental health. Rosie helped me get professional help with my depression.
In many ways, we also were told to treat the scheme as a job. When we worked in the kitchen, we were prepared for a real working environment
We were told to reflect on feedback and to not doubt ourselves.
Life After MacsMAD
I’d like to work full-time for Miss Macaroon as a business admin. I’ve had managers before telling me that I’m not good enough. But Rosie, she was both a leader and my support worker. She helped me. I sort of grew into this family.
I’d recommend MacsMAD. You get a lot out of it. A lot of things you can put onto your CV. Ten weeks may seem like a lot, but it’s worth it. If you want to change your old habits – for me, I had no motivation before MacsMAD – then coming here helps. You get to know yourself and what you’re good at. Your life can change for the better, but you’ve got to be willing to put in the work.
There are going to be days, and this is the truth, that are going to be stressful. There have been a couple of days where I’ve wanted to quit. But because I was in a position where I felt safe, I didn’t want to stop. I asked questions. When I was unsure of the path I wanted to go onto, I asked Rosie and the programme leader for help. They guided me. They didn’t shut the door on my face.
It’s about knowing that you are capable of doing things, and ignoring any negativity from before. Your life will change for the better.