Ilya's Story

Ilya's Story

When I found out that I’d got the job at Ozmen’s I couldn’t believe it! I could feel the excitement running through my spine, and now the best way to describe my life is that it feels like the sun is shining… like it’s not raining anymore.

“Privet menya zovut Ilya”….that’s Russian for “Hello my name is Ilya”. I was born in Russia before moving to Sheffield with my family when I was 8 years old. I’m now working in Ozmen’s - an international food store where I speak to some of the customers in my native language. They’re not always Russian, sometimes customers are polish or are visiting from other eastern European countries, but it’s really nice that I can understand people and help them.

My life has been quite different to most people. Since I moved out of my family home I’ve lived in supported accommodation with a few other people and members of staff. I also spent a couple of years in hospital when my mental health meant I needed a little extra support. The house I live in now is just round the corner from my job so I easily walk there every day. It’s very different to when I was in hospital!

The things I like most about my job are getting to meet new people and helping out as a strong pair of hands in the warehouse. My manager has already started training me on new things in the store so I’m learning quickly. Honestly having a job is so great. I’m really thankful to my BBO Coaches Nicci and Mark who helped find the place that is perfect for me. 

I still take medication for my mental health but that doesn’t define me anymore. When people meet me they see that I’m doing well and that I’m a good person. I can chat to them about my job, and about supporting Sheffield United, and the music that I like – Avenged Sevenfold is my favourite, but I know that not everyone likes that!

I suppose the best thing about life now is that I’m finally accountable for myself. I can go to the shops and buy food and coffee, and I can try and cook new things. It’s great. My parents are very happy too.

My Dad actually saw me on the way to my interview and he said, “you look very smart going to your first interview, I am very proud.” That was the best feeling. I feel like I’ve been given a chance to be successful so I’m very, very happy.

South Yorkshire Housing Association

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