AS a 23-year-old Police Community Support Officer, (PCSO), Kanesha Brown walks proudly around her central Hull patch.
“I never thought I would have a job that I love this much,” says Kanesha.
But it was not always like that for this seemingly confident young woman – and she has CatZero to thank.
“If I had not been on the CatZero programme, I really don’t think I would be doing this, it gave me the push that I needed to do something with my life,” she says.
Kanesha joined a CatZero programme for young NEETS in Hull in 2011, after reaching what she admits was a real crossroads in her life.
As a teenager, she was bright, but the education system did not inspire or motivate her, and after going through school and a year of A-level study, she left college with no real ambition to achieve. She admits that she had struggled to make friends, which had not helped.
However, CatZero changed all that: “I just didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I was getting to the point where I was going to have to sign on and feared that cycle of never getting anything was going to start,” explains Kanesha.
During the 12-week programme she successfully undertook training courses, confidence and team building exercises and help with interview skills and CV writing. The course culminated in the ‘long sail’ to the Orkney Islands, and, adds Kanesha, that was when her determination to change was cemented.
“It was a moment when we were on the boat and I said to myself that, if I wanted to do things like this when I was older, that I had to change. The time on the yacht also taught me resilience,” she says.
And it was that experience that has helped her find her ‘dream career’ with Humberside Police. After several different jobs, Kanesha was accepted as a PCSO.
“I remember getting fitted for my uniform and thinking to myself ‘I can’t believe I’m going to do this,” she says.
“It has not always been easy though – during the six-weeks of training, there were points when I felt I may not make it, but it was that resilience that saw me through.”
So, what is her advice to others who may be reading this and are in the position she was several years ago.
“CatZero is a fantastic programme and if you get the opportunity then do it. Yes, there were points when I thought I was not going to get anywhere in life, but you must tell yourself things will get better and if you don’t push yourself, you are never going to find out,” she adds.