Student Alan eyes future in health care after suffering despair

Less than a year ago student Alan Davenport was in a dark place and in his own words his life was ‘non-existent’.

His future appeared so empty the 20-year-old tried to take his own life having suffered a mixture of anxiety and depression through his teenage years.

But after spending six weeks in hospital and with the help of the Community Restart team, the Prince’s Trust and Pendleside Hospice, Alan is at last at one with himself and has set impressive targets for both the short and long term future.

Alan said: “The Community Restart team pointed me in the direction of the Prince’s Trust and being involved with them at Nelson Fire Station, where they are based in Pendle, I learned a lot about team building and leadership skills from the firemen and women.

“I joined them on the training ground putting out fires and running through the rat runs.

“And when I went to Pendleside on work experience for two weeks all that I had learned with the Prince’s Trust was cemented together in a real-life working environment.”

At Pendleside Alan worked with the Day Services Unit and was involved in the day-to-day interaction with patients. He chatted with them and encouraged them to join in the interactivity.

He said: “I learned so many things and for me it did wonders for my confidence and self belief. Just talking to people who were suffering illnesses of their own, interacting with people and being involved in a workplace was so rewarding and beneficial to me.”

The role was so fulfilling that Alan is even considering a career in health care which is a paradox to where he was a year ago.

Alan said: “I’m already doing voluntary work for the NHS’s acute therapy service in Blackburn and if there was a chance to do voluntary work at the hospice I would jump at it. The day care therapy leader Karen Cookson and her team were brilliant and very supportive,

“I’m just starting a foundation degree course in applied science at Burnley College and hopefully I will move on to study either for a chemistry or health care degree.”

Day services manager Julia O’Neil said: “Alan’s time with us really touched us. He came to us with a different set of needs to the people who normally carry out work experience. But everything fell naturally into place and, hopefully, he went away with an appetite for the future.”