Josephine Mavromatis

Health and Social Care L3, PathwayJo Mavromatis

I started my level 3 in May 2013, very nervous as I had not been in education or learning for a long time, at least 8 years ago. From the very start I was made to feel comfortable with my assessor Eudene. I think one of the most important things I found was that Eudene had faith and trust in me, that I did not have in myself. She encouraged me the whole way and was always there to prompt me and give extra help and support with work I found hard to understand. I especially found maths and English hard and she spent extra time supporting me on this.

I have had the opportunity to do this course through my work with the Pathway Project at University College hospital. I have been working there for 3 and half years now as a Care Navigator. I got this job from the volunteering I was doing at the time about 8 years ago.

Previous to this, I was homeless and an alcoholic on the streets. This stemmed from having my baby boy adopted, whom I had when I was just 15 years old. From there my life went downhill. I started hanging out with an older crowd and my weekend drinking soon turned into 7 days a week. During that time I had various stints in hospital, the last one being on a drip and a nurse in A+E caught hold of my arm and told me,” people like you’ are wasting our resources”. I remember thinking let me get my legs under me and I will be dead before I come to hospital again. My words came back to haunt me as I was bought in a few days later with pneumonia and fluid on my lungs and close to deaths doors.

I was transferred to the heart hospital and underwent a tharacotomy, a part of my lung removed. The next day I was told there was a chance I could have TB and given a big bag of medication. I did not know what TB was. It turns out it was TB and a week later a nurse contacted me. She became my rock and encouraged me to take my treatment which ended up being a year instead of the usual 6 months as I was resistant to one of the tablets. I completed my treatment and she introduced me to Find and treat. A van that goes round London checking hard to reach people for Tb. After some persuasion from her, as I wanted nothing more to do with TB, I started volunteering for them. I had now been sober a year and was attending AA meetings.

I then also volunteered for Groudswell, who help people get back into work. I went to college and redone my Maths and English. I then volunteered for Mind, mental health and went on to do a counselling course, then a phychology course. I also took up creative writing. Joined Rugby house, a drug and alcohol placement and volunteered there.

While still working on the van I was introduced to London Pathway, The Homeless Team which I started on 16 hours a week, but now do full time. When I became sober I decided to look for my son. He was found within a week, only to be to be told he was in the army and due for his first tour of Afghan in 2 weeks. We wrote to each other and I met up the following week (a 6ft tall strapping man). My son told me that I also have 2 beautiful grandchildren who I now see regularly.

From some awful experiences I am glad to say I have come out on top. My family who at one stage disowned me are now really proud of me. I said I would never step foot in a hospital again but now I actually work there. I have had some special people helping me along the way, my Tb nurse Jackie who encouraged me. Trudy and Florence who I work with now and my assessor Eudene for having such faith in me. I am so glad to have completed my Level 3 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care and I am proud of myself. Now I thank God for my life every day.