Michael Balls joined Mackman in 2012, having successfully completed an eight week work placement programme set up through The Bridge Project, a local charity in Sudbury. The Bridge Project exists to assist disadvantaged adults within the community where everybody is treated fairly, with dignity and respect. Michael is about to successfully complete a National Open College Network Skills for Progression Level 1 Certificate, and a City and Guilds Functional Skills Entry in Maths and English. Michael has flourished at Mackman, and now contributes to the ongoing Operations for the business.

Describe your job at Mackman?

I look after lots of things at Mackman. I water all of the plants, and runner beans, and make sure all of the sunflowers are growing properly. We recycle all of our rubbish, so I get everything ready for collection too. One of my big jobs is making sure all the important papers get shredded – I’ve done over 60 bags since I started. I make sure we have tea, coffee and milk to keep us going!

What’s it like working at Mackman?

It’s really good. I like everyone there. I didn’t know them to start with, but I’ve got used to them now. I look forward to coming here because everyone’s so friendly. It’s good being busy, and I have lots of jobs to do every week!

What hobbies do you do outside of work?

Lots! I like gardening and am growing cabbages, potatoes, broad beans and turnips. I did a gardening course at The Bridge Project so now I know how to grow things at home. I learnt all about seeds and transplanting things when they’ve grown a bit. I sing in the choir at All Saint’s Church and go swimming every day. I won a gold medal which was great. I like watching Eastenders and Gardeners’ World, and go to the cinema club too.

What kind of things do you do at The Bridge Project?

All sorts of things. I’m learning how to use technology, like sending faxes. I’ve gotten much more confident with my writing and typing, and how to manage all my bills. I get to see my friends, Patrick and Raymond, when I’m there which is always good.

What makes you happy?

I used to ride horses a lot, and I’d like to do that again because it made me very happy. Looking at new things on the internet makes me happy too. Taking my dog Rosie for a walk is nice, and it’s good to get some exercise.