Health Works for Cornwall has helped Nigel re-start his education and improve his possible future outcomes

Please note this story contains sensitive information which some readers may find upsetting.

Nigel has given full consent for us to share his story.

Nigel joined the Health Works for Cornwall (HWC) project in May 2021 when he was facing a number of barriers to returning to work. After making an enquiry to his Jobcentre Plus Adviser, he was referred to the HWC project for further support. At the time, Nigel’s current barriers included: lack of any formal qualifications, mobility issues, having been out of work since 2019 and was and still is involved as a core participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Nigel has waived his anonymity for the purposes of the inquiry.

Nigel’s involvement in the inquiry stemmed from his long-term contribution with projects that support male victims of sexual abuse. One of the reasons Nigel’s core participant status was granted was that he set up the first helpline for male survivors in 1986 (Survivors UK). Nigel spent some time in the care system but has also spent spells of his life homeless. Nigel has been a victim of child sexual abuse but his reports weren’t taken any further until 2015 when the police reinvestigated and found that the people that Nigel had reported in 1975, had prior convictions for child sexual abuse at the time Nigel had reported it. Nigel describes himself as a survivor but because of this trauma, has psychological issues which include depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In order to address Nigel’s lack of formal education, his Change Coach advised on the availability of courses at the local Adult Education Centre – The Gregson Centre and together Nigel and his Change Coach discussed starting Maths and English courses. Nigel then began with a level 2 functional skills Maths course which he totally embraced and completed in November 2021, and whilst completing his Maths course, he also started his GCSE English in September 2021, which he has also totally embraced, he continues to enjoy and progress well with. Alongside this Nigel has also applied and started volunteering at both Cornwall Hospice Care and The Red Cross Charity Shops, with a training course being completed in advance of starting with The Red Cross.

Nigel now holds a level 2 qualification in Maths which for him has had a significant impact. It has given Nigel more confidence when filling in forms, particularly for job applications where he no longer needs to leave the education field blank. By taking up the volunteering work, Nigel has managed to build more structure and routine into his everyday life. Nigel will continue with his GCSE English at The Gregson and will investigate further education and courses ongoing from this. Nigel is on a waiting list for support with this PTSD which has given him the confidence that at some point in the future he will gain the much-needed support that he requires to enable him to be making those essential steps forward with his life.

Nigel said;

“I have been involved with the ‘Healthworks’ project for a little over six months now. The main reasons I started the project was because I was having some difficulty motivating myself and felt ill supported locally.

Thanks to the support and assistance I have received from the project I have been able to re-start my education and improve my possible future outcomes. My Change Coach has supported me to make the changes I needed to make.

This support has not always been easy. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I have complex PTSD and find it hard to place my trust in others. My Change Coach listened to me and created a ‘safe’ environment for me to express where issues lay, sometimes having to hear unpleasant parts of my past in order to do so.

By the time I finish at the project, I will be almost finished with the education course I have started. This will stand me in good stead when I prepare to return to work.”



The Health Works for Cornwall project is part funded by the European Social Fund, with Cornwall Council being principal match funders. The aim of the project to support 5500 residents of Cornwall and the Isles of Scillies, who are out of work and have a health-related barrier to employment to move closer towards or into employment.