Having our say

Reflection April 2, 2019

During the past month, a lot has changed for me. I have started my eight-week placement in a primary school and life has got very busy to say the least! However, on Thursday, as I had been back at university for a week before placement commences again, I was sat down for a long tram journey. This gave me the time and the space to do some thinking about my life and I found myself… Read more

What are your desert island discs? March 25, 2019

This term Kate has been running a music appreciation course called ‘Thank you for the Music’. She explains; Our learners have been busy learning how music can improve our wellbeing – whether that’s listening to music for relaxation, creating a playlist to motivate us, or using music as a way to express our emotions. We have been listening to all genres of music, from Samba, Arabic, African, Metal, Jazz, Indie, Reggae and much more!  The… Read more

The light at the end of the tunnel March 22, 2019

Ian visited us recently, to tell us how he’s doing in his new job, and how far he’s come since he first visited Back on Track in early 2107. “I’d been doing well – good job, well paid, well, probably by most people’s standards. But then a family member got ill, and things started getting difficult. Over time it took a toll on me, and then got worse, until I ended up losing my job,… Read more

Kel – a new start in a new town March 2, 2019

It was great to just catch up with Kel, who has been a big part of Back on Track over the past few years. Everyone here knows her. She’s been all kinds of things including our choir, Tony Walsh’s poetry group, and the Manchester Street Poem project. Recently, though, she took the plunge and moved out to Blackpool, where some of her family live. She is starting a new life there with a new flat… Read more

Wellness – what works for you? February 12, 2019

“One car! That’s all there was!” It’s difficult to imagine, but we all know it’s true. It’s Tuesday morning and I’m in the IT room at Back on Track. I’m attending the ‘Having a voice’ group, and Jennifer has us all mesmerised. She’s telling us about a photograph of her and her sister, as children, on the street where they grew up. It’s the 1960’s, and the street is empty, except for one car. “One,… Read more

Take a step back and enjoy life January 3, 2019

As I write this, I reflect on how the Christmas holidays has been a new space for me to slow down and spend time with my family. It has also been a period of assessing my own values and goals as I prepare to start a new year. Whether you like this time of year or not, time off for festivities can definitely have an impact on daily routine. For me, although I honestly prefer… Read more

Catching up with Sheena November 22, 2018

The other day I caught up with Sheena. You might know her from a short video interview we made earlier in 2018. That video has been viewed a remarkable 8,400 times on Facebook, which just proves that you need don’t need a fancy production to capture people’s minds. If your story features a compelling personality with a fascinating story to tell then you can’t go far wrong. And that was certainly the case with Sheena. In… Read more

Strong support networks November 8, 2018

Every day most of us are around a multitude of people, but who can we turn to and establish deep connections with in times of trouble? Don’t get me wrong, I think that acquaintances and small talk have their place in our everyday lives, filling the gaps in our day and adding more sociability to our world, but sometimes we need a but more. Yes, that’s right – we are human, and being so, we… Read more

Sleeping out November 7, 2018

Our trustee Mark took part in the CEO Sleepout event to raise awareness of homelessness in Manchester, along with our CEO Siobhan and two other trustees. Here he blogs about the experience of giving up his bed for the night. The evening started with everyone in great spirits about the event. In total, there were about 80 fundraisers from around the Manchester area all supporting various Manchester homeless charities. There were guest speakers who all… Read more

Moving On October 29, 2018

“I’m not used to seeing you on a Friday” Says Ben. He does a double take as I walk in the door. Which is fair enough. I don’t usually work here on Fridays. I’ve changed my working days at Back on Track this week so I can take part in the weekly ‘Moving On’ session. As the name suggests, it’s one of the more advanced training courses delivered by the education team, and helps people to… Read more

Having a Voice at Back on Track October 23, 2018

This Autumn we offered a course at Back on Track called ‘Having a Voice’.  The course was the result of a recent ‘Service User Feedback Week’ – we wanted to know if people wanted to get involved with how Back on Track worked (for example, helping us out with publicity, writing articles, attending meetings, taking part in interview panels) and what skills they would need to go about it.  To encourage our learners to contribute… Read more

Talking is important! October 10, 2018

“Talking is important!” says Kate Hardy, our Wellbeing Coordinator. “Not just on World Mental Health Day – at Back on Track we provide a wide range of courses to help people build their skills and confidence, but it also helps to provide people with a safe environment where people can build coping strategies when life isn’t going so well and feel like they can talk to someone if they are struggling”. Kate is currently running a… Read more

John’s making changes about homelessness. October 9, 2018

“Word of Mouth” is a brilliant concept. Thanks to Kate Hardy I joined a homelessness steering committee now called ‘Vox Pop’ and one of its leaders gave me the info about the Museum of Homelessness Catalyst Project. What is it? Well, basically, people with homeless experience, and an interest in art have a chance to exhibit their art, challenge the pre-conceptions about homelessness, and try to change the way people perceive homelessness. I attended a… Read more

We are The Storm. October 8, 2018

We are the Storm As ferocious as a wild animal Breathing fear into the world with its flashing and crashing   Rolling thunder, stills my thoughts eyes seeking for an eye in this hurricane Wind and rain getting soaking wet and words whip salty tears. This is no storm in a tea cup I thought you had sugar and made sure it was warm But it was left outside to go cold, along with the washing… Read more

The Secret of Self Compassion October 3, 2018

I am writing this blog entry today because kindness towards ourselves is an area where lots of us (me included) can fall short. At school, we are often taught that an answer is either right or wrong, not appreciating enough that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses and we all possess different perspectives. Self-compassion is also important to our thinking process, staying optimistic and changing our own situation when needed. I attempt to… Read more

I am a positive role model. September 26, 2018

This is my journey to how I am here today. The wrong path began when I was little as I remember. Smoking dimps, sniffing gas, then glue, plaster remover etc. Wagging school, drinking cheap wine, eating magic mushrooms off the school fields. Small things. Time goes by and leads to harder misuse of substances, in my case, dope /dodos, speed, mixing alcohol with tablets. Eventually it lands at a problem. Crack starts finding its way… Read more

You’re never too old to learn September 7, 2018

Every day, learning and training others is happening in this country. There are many places, including Back on Track, which actually offer up these services to adults. In my opinion, no matter how old you are, you should be acquiring new skills and fulfilling personal aspirations. We must realise that it has a long reaching effect. I believe that life is more interesting this way! When I first arrived at Back on Track in 2016,… Read more

My student placement helped me to have confidence August 16, 2018

Before starting my 70 day social work placement at Back and Track for my second year for my university degree, I was very anxious about working in a professional environment due to having no experience previously. I found that I easily settled in and fitted within the placement and I found the staff at Back on Track were very supportive. The placement has really helped me improve my skills and knowledge in several areas and… Read more

Thanks to Back on Track, I recognise my personal worth within society August 16, 2018

My name is Roney Commons. For the past 18 months I have been employed at Back on Track, firstly via a three month contract with Back on Track, and then a year contract with Shelter on the Inspiring Change Manchester project, which was extended due to my finding part time employment at The Men’s Room. I have found my time at this service very developing, I have learnt much and feel I may have found… Read more

What to do when boredom strikes August 15, 2018

Boredom isn’t a topic normally discussed in society because, as a people, we seem to have some kind of addiction to being busy. It is legitimate to spend time in work, education and bringing up a family, but are we equipped on those long summer days to know what to do in our down time? Should we keep avoiding it? This is, right now, very poignant and relevant to me. I’m sitting here on a… Read more

My Addiction August 1, 2018

For years I used to drink and take other substances which I thought was OK just to take away the stress of life. My children were young I worked a lot of hours and over the years my drinking got worse. I was verbally abusive as well as physically abusive towards my children, also to people around me. I thought my life was good but everything was falling apart around me. My marriage broke up… Read more

Back on Track helped me feel optimistic about the future. July 17, 2018

I was fed up because of not working due to long term mental health problems, and often feel isolated and lonely due to Asperger’s Syndrome. I got a referral to Back on Track and it was here I met lots of friendly staff who helped me with no end of problems. The first people I met were the volunteer receptionists who were very helpful, friendly and happy to be working. Then I met the friendly… Read more

There’s something for everyone. July 12, 2018

Having spent the last 9 months in achieve Trafford I discovered Back On Track through different people there. I have enrolled in the health wise course, and the computer skills for life course. The health wise course consists of learning about various parts of the body and the effects they can have on your health. Having serious health issues myself I have found the course extremely useful in maintaining a balanced life style, helping me… Read more

Solving puzzles together July 10, 2018

I have been attending Back on Track for over a month now. The reason I chose to come to Back on Track was to improve my social skills and build up my confidence to try and work comfortably within a group environment. There are a number of different courses that I have interest in doing from practical task to days out and courses that are focused on improving job skills that I will take part… Read more

Easy as 123… July 9, 2018

I came to Back on Track 5 years ago first time and I could not read or write and it helped me a lot because they start teaching me from basic English and Maths. Coming to Back on Track helped me to be confident about myself. It’s a place that you can feel free to talk to people and not be judged, everyone makes you feel happy and relax and be motivated. Back on Track… Read more

Life Lessons on Confidence July 4, 2018

Lack of confidence can prevent us from stepping forward and achieving. Think of how many times in your life that you have listened to your inner critic or a voice of doubt which tells you you can’t do something. Bad relationships or being bullied at school or similar experiences can knock our sense of perspective on what we think we can achieve. So we settle for much less than we are capable of. I am… Read more

Why volunteer? June 27, 2018

Stocktaking my reasons to be cheerful in the months after retiring from a long and happy career in teaching, my list looked something like this: Enjoying the freedom of a non-timetabled life? Check.Resetting my body clock to a slower pace? Check.Relishing having time with friends and family? Check.Abandoning myself to a frenzy of booking cheap flights not in term time? Check.Feeling good about doing things for others? Hmmm, not so much. Whilst the whole concept… Read more

Where would we go if we couldn’t come here? June 5, 2018

“There’s nowhere else like this in Manchester.” says Joe. “Where would we go if we couldn’t come here?” I dont know the answer. Joe and I are sat with a bunch of other clients of Back on Track in Manchester, which was set up over 40 years ago to help people rebuild their lives after problems with homelessness, substance misuse, mental health and offending. I’ve just started work as the fundraising and communications officer there, but probably… Read more

Back on Track: supporting homeless people in Manchester May 25, 2018

Homelessness is one of the biggest social problems facing Manchester at the moment. The number of people sleeping rough on our streets has increased by an extraordinary 1000% since 2010, and it’s a very visible problem in the city centre. The reasons why people become homeless are complicated, but a big factor is mental health problems – 80% of homeless people report some form of mental health issue. Sheena was in her mid-50s when she suddenly… Read more