In 2012, after working in the same nursery for 22 years, Nigel Hall decided he wanted a change and set about looking for another job.

As a teenager he was hit head-on by a car whilst on his bicycle, suffering serious injuries which affected his memory and mobility. Although he has attended several interviews over the last few years, Nigel found his speech problems often let him down when trying to secure another job.

Earlier this year Nigel was put in touch with the Darlington office of Triage Central Ltd who deliver the Work Programme on behalf of Ingeus in the North of England. It was during a trial week at a cobblers in Barnard Castle that Nigel realised that self-employment would be the best option for him, and he says he has not looked back.

“I’ve worked in gardens all my working life and since I’ve started working for myself I’ve never had to advertise. People recommend me to their friends and I’ve also been stopped in the street by people who ask me to come and work in their gardens, so word-of-mouth really works for me.”

Nigel still maintains close links with the Triage office and the company’s area manager for North East England, Karen Cochran says Nigel’s achievements are a fantastic example of how the Work Programme can turn lives around.

“Nigel is not just a wonderful role model for people who have been unemployment for a length of time and want to get back into the workplace but a shining example to people with disabilities of just what determination and hard work can achieve. Although Nigel is successfully running his own business now, we still keep in touch and are able to support him with any issues that might arise.”

Not only is Nigel’s business flourishing, but he is able to spend time working at something he loves as well as enjoy the flexibility of self-employment.

“The best thing is that I’m my own boss so I can arrange my weeks so that when my wife’s not away working, I can spend more time at home with her. I’m also able to offer my services to garden centres and nurseries, particularly in the winter months when there’s not so much work to be done outside. In my opinion, disability makes you stronger and I would say to other people in a similar situation to myself to believe in yourself and never give in and never give up.”

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