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Martin's story

I wanted to start lessons because of my age I suppose. I turned 40 and I wanted to learn how to read and write before it was too late. I couldn’t read letters or fill in forms. Before, if I couldn’t read stuff, I’d just leave it. If I was on my own, I wouldn’t go and ask someone because I was embarrassed. If I couldn’t read letters, I’d just tear them up. When they changed the benefits system, I couldn’t sign on because I didn’t know how. Going places could be hard. If I didn’t know how to get somewhere I didn’t want to ask someone. I’d just miss the appointment. I missed a lot of appointments and opportunities because of not being able to read.

I’ve been homeless and I met a lot of people who couldn’t read or write. It was quite difficult to find lessons. I didn’t know where to go. I asked in the Job Centre but apart from that I didn’t know where else to ask. Living in this hostel, I got lessons pretty quick but if I wasn’t living here, I wouldn’t know where to look to get literacy classes. There needs to be more information on how to start classes and I think the Job Centre should advertise them as well, for people to get better jobs in the future.

When I started lessons, I felt very uncomfortable because I was embarrassed. The lessons gave me confidence and a bit more motivation to know I can learn and there’s other people in my shoes. Since I started my reading’s improved slightly and it’s given me a little bit of confidence to ask people and to try to read things myself, or just to ask someone for help without being embarrassed.

If people are embarrassed 1-1 lessons are the best way to start. If I hadn’t had

1-1, I wouldn’t have gone to a group. It’s helped me get a bit more confidence to then go into group lessons. I go to two groups now and it’s alright. It’s completely different to 1-1. It’s more intimidating because there’s people in the classroom but in a group you can learn from each other and that’s good.

In the future I’d like to improve my reading, learn how to read a book and write a letter. I’d like to do some training and get a good job. I want to do plumbing but my reading needs to be better.

If someone’s thinking about lessons, I’d say give it a go. There’s only one way you’re going to find out. They’re alright. I’m glad I’m doing them now. I’m enjoying them so far and I appreciate all the help I’m getting.

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