Just Straight Talk (JST) are part of the Foundation’s Community Matters programme which aims to break down the barriers of employment in the Black Country.

JST supports people by providing the practical help and motivation needed to turn their lives around and achieve their goals. The organisation encourages and empowers people through creative approaches to live better and more fulfilling lives.


David’s Story

David accessed the Community Matters project through the Dudley Job Centre, initially to help him gain employment. It was soon realised that he had some mental health issues and needed support.

This was the first opportunity he had to help him build confidence and self-esteem. David was able to understand his overall situation, identify issues and set up realistic goals.

Having witnessed a suicide while at work, David left his role traumatised. This incident had a huge impact on David’s communication and ability to engage with people. Since then David has suffered with depression, stress and anxiety.

Staff at Just Straight Talk spoke to David’s GP to arrange professional support and looked at building his confidence:

“When I first met David, he’d hardly spoak. However, after so many appointments and continuous support his communication quickly improved!


“We discussed his issues, hobbies and interests. I realised that David had a passion for photography, so we put him forward for a training course.”

Following his course David presented his work at an exhibition and has since got involved in another project that involves writing a mini photography book.

Following his work with Community Matters, David said:

“Many thanks for the great help and support you’ve provided me.


“I’m looking forward to my first project and writing my first, independent, piece of work!”

Cynthia’s Story

Referred urgently from the Stourbridge Job Centre, Cynthia’s mental health was a serious cause for concern. Involved in a stressful family dispute, resulting in a stop to her finances, she was falling into arrears which led to a rise in anxiety. She became suicidal.

A naturally warm, welcoming and caring individual she had been a carer for her mother, when this ended, she felt like she lost her identity.

Community Matters provided Cynthia with emotional support, helping her take positive steps to deal with her current issues and outline future goals.

With support from JST Cynthia was able to get the food and items she desperately needed. Appointments were set up to engage with mental health services and liaise with utility companies, ensuring she wasn’t being pressured into any debts.

Now able to think about her future goals and aspirations she’s keen to return to the normality of being a ‘natural carer’.

Cynthia said:

“I’ve looked forward to every meeting with my Support Worker Rachel. She’s been a lifesaver.


“I’ve been at rock bottom, but I now I know I’m ready to move on up! Thank you for JST for being there for me.”

If you want to find out more about our Community Matters programme, click here.

If you want to know how you can do more locally, click here.

The National Lottery Community Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, its funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.
The BBO project has received £260,813 of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.