A former football coach who reached rock bottom has turned his life around and set up a thriving business thanks to help from Ingeus. Daniel Walker struggled to function and experienced anxiety and depression, after falling out with family and friends. He had nowhere to live and slept on a friend’s floor for five months until he found a council flat in Shaw, near Oldham.
Daniel, now aged 34, remembered: “I found it difficult to get out of bed and slept most of the time. I had no routine, could not think straight, and found it difficult to make meals and drinks. At one point I was ready to end my life.”
Daniel, who had been a football coach for children’s and disabled players teams, was referred to the Restart Scheme, delivered by Ingeus. He told his Ingeus adviser Amy Driscoll of his hopes to start his own business and she put him in touch with Ingeus partner and business start-up specialist Momentic, where advisor Jan Melia helped Daniel develop a business plan.
Ingeus also supported Daniel with a new laptop, funding for branded workwear, professional business cards and flyers.
“I’m very grateful to Amy and Ingeus who really helped me financially,” said Daniel. “My new laptop has helped me keep my bookkeeping up to date, develop my website and carry out my online work.”
Daniel’s business is called DW9 Training. He is a personal trainer for people with mental health issues and disabilities such as anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders and ADHD.
Daniel also carries out performance coaching for athletes and sports people including Rugby Union teams. He teaches fitness training, nutrition and gives advice on fluid intake, protein and how to sleep. Finally, he has online shops selling fitness clothes and dietary supplements.
“The business is developing and my reputation is growing and it feels amazing,” he enthused. “It can be challenging but it’s really rewarding when you see people doing well for themselves and you know you have played a part in that – it makes me really happy.”
Daniel would recommend the Restart Scheme, a government programme commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions. It gives jobseekers advice, employability support and access to local jobs.
In the future he hopes to open his own fitness studio and form a team of staff to help with performance coaching.
“I am much happier and can manage my mental health much more easily now,” he added.
“My lifestyle is more structured and my business gives me something to focus on.”
Ingeus is a leading provider of the Restart Scheme in Greater Manchester and Central and West London. It also supports the Restart Scheme in Central West Midlands in partnership with Serco.