Jason Richards

New Directions Award | Sponsored by Skills and Education Group


New Directions Award

Jason was recovering from severe brain damage and years of homelessness when he found training opportunities and a new sense of direction through Newground Together. Jason’s success in learning led not only to an offer of work, but the chance to reconnect with his family. 

I have two adult sons, but for a long time after my brain injury I couldn’t remember them. As my brain started to rewire itself, I wanted to reconnect with them – but I was ashamed.  

I started a facilities management course that included a work experience at THG properties in Halifax. That taught me caretaking, cleaning and basic estates management. Since being offered an employment contract, I’ve also learned how to report damage, manage repairs and liaise with contractors.  

Being a caretaker is an important job. There’s a lot of responsibility and it’s a great feeling to know that the little things I do are improving somebody else’s life. This is why I want to keep learning. I feel responsible for my tenants and the environment they live in, and it feels like a chance to repay the help I’ve been given by helping my immediate community.   

My brain is working much better now, although the damage is always going to be there. I believe learning has helped the recovery process, encouraging my mind to keep making new connections and get stronger. Learning has also made me feel like a man again, and because of this my sons have got their dad back. 

Hilary Lythgoe, Learning and Accreditation Coordinator at Newground Together, said: “Jason’s story is a testament to perseverance and demonstrates how someone in even the most severely challenging position can, with help, make a transformative change. Now that his life is on a positive track, Jason is committed to seizing all the learning opportunities he can to place ever greater distance between his present and his past.”