A young man who became homeless in Eastwood during the freezing January snow blizzards last year is now on the path to achieving his dream of being head chef thanks to a council training scheme.
Jake Mace from Eastwood lost his job before Christmas in 2012 and was forced to sleep rough after he was kicked out his hostel.
During the three weeks that he was homeless the winter weather was at its worst and he battled freezing temperatures and snow storms.
The now 20-year-old said that realising that he was homeless was one of the worst feelings he has experienced.
He added: “I knew as I slept on park benches in the freezing cold with snow all around that I had hit rock bottom and things could not get any lower.
“I was sleeping behind shops and in bushes in the park to keep warm, and I didn’t eat for a week.
“When I became homeless I became invisible - it was heartbreaking.”
One of his friends was taking a course at college and put Jake in contact with the Skills for Employment team at Eastwood Young People’s Centre on Kelham Way and run by Nottinghamshire County Council.
The scheme helps 16 to 18 year olds get back into education, training and employment with internships andf study programmes.
The Skills for Employment team helped Jake access a food parcel and accomodation before helping him get his life back on track with a number of training courses.
He is now volunteering at Crocus Café in Lenton, studying for an NVQ2 catering course at college and living independently in Eastwood.
Jake said: “I needed someone to believe in me and the Skills for Employment team at the county council gave me that belief to move forward.
“They were absolutely amazing and now I want to be a head chef one day.”
Cllr John Knight, Chairman for the Culture Committee at the county council said: “Colleagues from the team took Jake to a food bank when he was at his lowest which gave him real confidence that people cared and it gave him the impetus to take the next step.
“He has done remarkably well and is an undoubted success story which shows the value of our Skills for Employment team.
“The support we are able to provide is vital in giving people extra confidence and direction at a critical time of their life.”