September 10, 2018

Jack’s blog: How New Leaf helped me get back on track

Man smiling at the camera, cutting a meadow

Jack Helsby was referred to New Leaf in April 2018 after losing his way following the loss of his mum. His personal mentor, Lorraine Byron from Weaver Vale Housing Trust, worked with him to get him back on track and to find a role which he was truly passionate about.

“I’ve always had an interest in the natural world and wildlife, so a degree in wildlife conservation and ecology with the University of Chester was the obvious option for me. The course was brilliant and further cemented that conservation and ecology was something I wanted to make a career out of. Unfortunately, during completing my degree I lost my mother to breast cancer; I managed to finish my degree, but coming home I found myself in a rut. I wasn’t working and everything in my life seemed to stagnate and deteriorated, including my mental health. After months of feeling like this, I finally decided to reach out for support, started receiving counselling and signed up to New Leaf.

“During my time with New Leaf, Dee, from Chester Voluntary Action, put me in contact with Grozone, where I spent 2-3 days a week volunteering. This helped me in so many ways but most importantly, helped get me out of my rut. She even put me in touch with Cheshire Wildlife Trust where I found out about their traineeship. Although the traineeship is voluntary, there was still an application process to go through, including an interview. Before New Leaf, something like that would have intimidated me. However, Lorraine worked with me to help me create a CV I was proud of and taught me some techniques to use during my interview. Something must have worked as I was offered the position!

“Last week I had my induction for the traineeship and it really feels like the perfect next step for getting me into a career in conservation. The position is for 12 months, 3 days a week and is based across West Cheshire. There’s a range of training involved and I’ll get to gain experience in lots of different areas including; working with people, reserve management and report writing. In my induction, I got to see some of the reserves I will be involved in as well as some of the other projects, involving putting up owl and kestrel nest boxes. This really feels like the perfect next step for me, in terms of getting a career in conservation, providing me with a wide range of experience out in the field and I’m excited to where it might lead me.”

Volunteering is a fantastic stepping stone for you to get into a career you are passionate about. If you want to make a change in your life but don’t know where to start, get in touch with New Leaf – call 01925 452131 or email

Man smiling at the camera, cutting a meadow
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