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Romford 26-year-old praises supported housing service that helped turn his life around

Tom Picknell now volunteers at Lucas Court, and here he is helping resident Silvia. Picture: Riverside

Tom Picknell now volunteers at Lucas Court, and here he is helping resident Silvia. Picture: Riverside

Archant

A Romford man has thanked the supported housing service that helped him turn his life around as it was revealed the same service has been awarded a new contract by Havering Council.

Tom Picknell now volunteers at Lucas Court, and here he is helping resident Silvia. Picture: RiversideTom Picknell now volunteers at Lucas Court, and here he is helping resident Silvia. Picture: Riverside

Tom Picknell lived at Lucas Court - on the A127 between Gallows Corner Roundabout and Ardleigh Green Road - for four years before moving into his own home in Romford earlier this year.

And Tom credits the support structures at Lucas Court for giving him the hope and confidence to do things he thought he could never achieve.

Lucas Court has changed my life for the better. Four years ago I was struggling to get by but now I'm looking at career options which I never thought would ever happen," said the 26-year-old.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Havering Council has renewed contracts at supported housing sites Lucas Court and The Boundaries for a further five years.

Tom Picknell now volunteers at Lucas Court, and here he is helping resident Silvia. Picture: RiversideTom Picknell now volunteers at Lucas Court, and here he is helping resident Silvia. Picture: Riverside

Both are run by housing association Riverside, and have specialist teams on site to provide support for people with mental health related needs.

The Boundaries, just off South Street in Romford, has 10 rooms offering high support to people with severe or enduring mental health issues, while Lucas Court has 12 self-contained flats which caters for people with low to medium support needs as a result of mental ill health.

Tom was living with his parents and had mental ill health when he moved to Lucas Court.

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He said: "Throughout my journey at Lucas Court I feel I've been able to accomplish things I never thought possible.

"I've tried doing new things and began volunteering in the community and never thought I would gain employment, but my support worker put me in touch with a mental health charity who helped me get a part-time job and I worked there for more than two years.

"The experience has been invaluable, I've built up my confidence and it's helped my mental health.

"I moved out of Lucas Court in June and now live independently but the door is always open if I need the support.

"It's nice to know that I have someone there if I need them.

Tom now even volunteers at Lucas Court, to help encourage current residents to be the best that they can be.

Pauline Oakley, Riverside's area manager for Havering, said the company was "delighted" that both its contracts had been extended.

She added: "Tom has done exceedingly well and he is testament that people's lives can change for the better.

"He is doing really well volunteering with us and helps out with activities for residents such as cooking, shopping, budgeting and computer skills to use the internet and interact with friends."

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