Stephen is a cook but for a long time, he’s been wanting to follow his talent for gardening.

He has also been a carer since 2005. He cared for his father until 2014 and is now caring for his mother who has polymyalgia rheumatica, osteoporosis, and emphysema.

Because of his caring role, he had to stop working in 2020, and in his quest for purpose, he decided to join Your Caring Way in May this year.

“People don’t understand what it’s like to be a carer; you have to be available 24/7.”

“Trying to juggle everything so the person you care for gets full attention, but you also have to pay attention to yourself.”

“I received an email from Your Caring Way, I clicked and then I decided to contact them.”

“They helped me work things out, what I liked and needed to do.”

The whole time, Stephen wasn’t ready to give up. He wanted to achieve his idea and even more.

“I wanted to get into employment. I wanted to do something other than cooking.”

“I had a job, started in April 2000. I was working there pretty much full time. But then I had to care for my father. I’m now on a carer pension.”

“I never had a resume before. Back in the day a lot of things were done via word of mouth.”

“Rod, my Placement Officer, has been fantastic. I went through everything with him.”

“I don’t have any internet; I wanted to do a course but unfortunately, I don’t have a computer or anything like that. So, they helped me with my resume.”

In July, Stephen started doing volunteer work at the Bulimba Creek Catchment and the Community Garden at Holland Park.

“My gardening work is to assist propagation of Australian natives for the Bulimba Catchment.”

“I do it every Tuesday. I catch three buses to get there because I don’t drive, and I’m really enjoying it.”

“On Fridays, I go to the Community Garden in Holland Park, and I get to do some nursery work. In total, I work three to four hours every week.”

“I’m happy with what I’ve got at the moment. It’s great, it’s given the experience and the opportunity to get out of the house.”

“It’s something out of the box for me. I’ve been a cook for a long time. I’ve done Hospitality.”

“I love gardening, it gets me out, I’m learning things, the company is lovely, I’ve met a lot of new and nice people and I’m happy to continue to do that.”

“This is good, I’m meeting people with similar interests.”

When asked about his future he says study is the first thing that comes up for him.

“I’m not sure yet but I’d like to get some money so I can buy a computer and do a course.”

“For the time being, I’m happy to do these two days at the two nurseries. Hopefully one day I can find employment and get an income, it’s hard trying to survive on a pension. “

“I’ve been very touched and grateful for what the program has done for me.”