Dean points at the image of Dublin city in the video himself and his friend Darren made.

Three months ago, Dean and Darren were feeling that they were wandering aimlessly and that they needed support to get rid of the things that were holding them back. Since then, they have joined the Matt Talbot Community Trust and are now working on a digital storytelling project in the community.

‘I was in a very bad place, I was basically hit rock bottom and my mental health wasn’t the best but then as soon as I put foot here and started talking to people a lot was lifted off my shoulders’ says Darren.

Their first video produced is of a group hike in Wicklow mountains, which is part of the centre’s project-based learning initiative.

Digital storytelling is a methodology that is gaining popularity in communities for its various benefits: it enables participants to develop their communication skills and become digitally literate and it fosters creativity and authorship.

‘Pictures communicate better. Because from the pictures you can see all the views whereas if you are talking you try to explain and people mightn’t get what you are trying to say whereas if you have a picture you can just show them.’ Darren says.

Dean and Darren have only started the programme with the Matt Talbot Community Trust, but they have already taken the most difficult step and that is to ask for help and continue to believe that things can and will change for them. They now follow a routine and attend various activities that focus on their soft skills, taking control of their choices and making plans towards their future engagement with a number of educational options. They have already articulated that they feel “more confident” “less stressed” and feel that they now have a real plan to help them move forward and achieve sustainable life goals.

‘I’m here about 3 months. It’s helping me an awful lot. The hikes and Smart Recovery are very good. That helps a lot. We can come down here and talk about anything.’ says Dean.

The main goal of the two participants is to step into an apprenticeship. The centre is offering them real support to get to a place where they are ready to step off into an opportunity that will be life changing for them.