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Marcus is loving Gainsborough Court and its community feeling

A resident at one of our independent living schemes says he can feel his confidence returning since moving into his flat.

Marcus White, moved into Gainsborough Court in Oakham on the first day of lockdown in 2020 after losing his shared ownership flat due to a build-up of debt.

Since moving to Gainsborough Court and thanks to the help of colleagues, Marcus believes he’s coming out of his shell once more.

Coming through difficult times

He said: “I did have my shared ownership flat, but my wages weren’t being paid as they should be as the business I was working for was struggling.

“During the latter times living there, it was just a matter of waiting for the bailiffs, there was no way round it for me.

“I didn’t open my mail because I was frightened of all the bills. Eventually I was evicted.

“Thankfully, because I had been working, I got a tax rebate which sorted out all my debt and cleared the board, so I didn’t have that threat anymore. But I was still sofa surfing and I stayed with my sister for a while.

“I had some counselling too, but it didn’t really work for me or address my issues. That’s when I was referred to my support worker Andy and he helped me a lot.

“He got in touch with Gainsborough Court and a lady from Oakham Citizens Advice gave me moral support and helped me break down barriers and help me understand that it wasn’t just me who’d faced circumstances like these.

“After all that, here I am today.”

Community spirit at Gainsborough Court

Marcus – who is a qualified hairdresser and has a talent for drawing caricatures – has become part of the Gainsborough Court community, cooking food for community gatherings and even hosting a Christmas quiz for other residents.

“It’s a great community here. There are people from all walks of life and everybody has their own little story to tell,” he said.

“It’s fascinating in all honesty.

“I really like it here. I didn’t expect to, but I really like it.

“It was like a weight had been lifted. Through one circumstance or another, that weight was there and it was lifted when I came here.

“We have little communal gatherings and I’ve really got into cooking recently. When you’re struggling for ingredients, that’s when you really learn to cook as you have to improvise.

“It’s great as you’re surprised what everyone turns up with.”

Quiz master

After his experiencing hosting a Christmas quiz for residents, Marcus hopes to be able to act as quiz master on a more regular basis.

He added: “Everybody loved that last quiz I did!

“Everyone, especially the men, were really getting into it. I really enjoyed it and I’d love to do more quizzes here and I think I’m going to do it more.

“Penny [Hilliard, Scheme Assistant] is a great support in her own little way to everybody in here. She helps us all and is always aware of what everybody needs.

“I feel like my confidence is returning. I don’t think it’ll ever be there 100 percent, but who’s ever 100 percent?  

“Everybody has helped me a lot. I just want to say thank you.”

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