Tom's Story

Tom at CERAcycloan

When keen motorcyclist Tom, 21, from Stockport joined the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme, he was homeless, struggling to find places to sleep at night and he’d had his bike stolen.

Forced into sofa-surfing took its toll on Tom, destoying his self-esteem and leading to him struggling to see where he could go from there.

Following a chat with his sister, Tom was put in touch with Dave Smith, a support worker at Depaul, a charity that helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged. Dave helped Tom moved into a hostel, where they started working together to rebuild Tom’s life.

Tom said, “When I met with Dave, he made me feel so much better about myself.”

Through DePaul, Tom was referred to Greater Manchester Talent Match. That’s when he met Katie Watson, a Talent Coach based at Back on Track - a local charity that provides training and work experience for disadvantaged people.

TOm with BrianTom explains what happened next, “My Talent Coach supported me into accessing meaningful activities, such as cooking courses. Talent Match and DePaul have built my confidence back up again and kept me busy.”

Knowing that he had a keen interest in bikes, Tom was introduced to Brian Pendlebury, Director at CERAcycloan, a social enterprise in Stockport. Tom spent some time at CERAcycloan learning about bike servicing and restoration.

During this time, Tom was thrilled to find out that DePaul purchased a bike for him to help with his overall wellbeing as well as helping him to get to get about..

The experience not only allowed Tom to gain more skills in an area that he loved but he enjoyed the experience so much that he soon got taken on as a volunteer with CERAcycloan.

After volunteering for some time, Tom was been offered a full-time paid apprenticeship with CERAcycloan, studying for his Level 2 in Youth Work with Rathbone, and he has completed various training courses during his involvement with the business.

Tom’s is now living in a shared tenancy and is looking forward to his future.

Brian Pendlebury, Tom’s employer at CERAcycloan said, “Whilst he has been with us at CERAcycloan Tom has excelled in many ways, he has communicated to me that he feels his personal confidence and self esteem have risen significantly which I can only agree with. During his time with us we have facilitated many training courses for Tom to advance his understanding and knowledge of the type of work we do and also ensure professional aspects are being met.”

Tom enthuses, “I have also recently passed my Compulsory Basic Training course and I am now enjoying being mobile! I am hoping my current apprenticeship will lead to a future career in Bike Mechanics as I am really passionate about this.”Tom working on restoring a bike

Katie, Tom’s Talent Coach said, “Tom has done amazingly well and should be so proud of himself. His story is testament to what you can achieve if you stay determined, patient and make the most of Tom opportunity.

It just goes to show how it can pay off when different organisations work collectively to support a young person, such as Tom. We’ve had to exercise excellent communication and partnership skills in order to share actions to achieve the best possible results for Tom.”

Brian concludes, “Tom is a delight not only to work with but also as an individual. He has an open, inquisitive mind  that thrives on new learning and he is proud to install new and innovative ideas into our team practice. Tom is a valued member of our team who I can only imagine will continue to thrive both personally and professionally within our working environment.”

Tom is now the is the proud owner of the Arthur Moss Medallion as Cycling UK’s Volunteer of the Year award. Tom was presented with the award – which he shared with two teenaged endurance cyclists – at the Cycling UK Annual Members’ Get Together in Manchester in October. Tom was also one of three young cyclists named Cycling UK’s Young Achievers of the Year.

​​Read more stories from people involved in Greater Manchester Talent Match by clicking here.