A young chef prepares pizza

Cameron's story: Dreaming of becoming a top chef

Cameron has Auditory Processing Disorder but never let this stop him achieving his full potential. Despite the difficulties of pursuing a career in hospitality during a pandemic, Cameron kept busy and completed his relevant qualifications. Cameron’s hard work paid off and he achieved his dream job working as a chef. In 2021 he won the Centrepoint Career Progression Award.

Family breakdown and homelessness

Cameron was 16 when he experienced a family breakdown and had to leave home. He sofa surfed and slept rough for almost a year with friends of family. When asked what he remembers during that time he says, “I just felt completely lost.”

At that time he was studying at college and they helped Cameron by directing him to support with food and money, but trying to maintain his studies whilst sofa-surfing, proved almost impossible.

Thinking back to how he was surviving at this time, Cameron says, “I wasn’t really, I was just pacing. If I didn’t have anything, I just went without.”

In the end, he opened up to his auntie and she helped him get a referral to Centrepoint in Barnsley.

Building independence at Centrepoint

When Cameron first came to Centrepoint he was assigned a key worker, Kieran who he describes as ‘fantastic’ and as he built up his independence,  he moved to one of Centrepoint’s lower support services. Key worker, Lee Tattershall been his main keyworker for the past year and has provided him with floating support since he has moved on. He was also the one that nominated him for the Centrepoint Award.

Cameron says, ‘Lee’s been a star. Now I’m in full time work, he’ll give me a call and ask whether I want to have a chat on the phone or pop in for a cup of tea. When I was in the service, my key workers would check up on me and two or three times a week and I never felt alone. There were activities going on that they’d encourage you to get involved in. My attitude is: if I can’t find a reason not to join in and give things ago then I should get stuck in. You don’t know what something will be like until you give it a try.”

Cameron’s key workers also helped him to keep on top of rent payments and his finances, which provided him with key independent living skills that he was able to utilise when he moved into his own flat.

Becoming a chef

Since lockdown, Cameron has finished college and completed his NVQ Level 2 in catering and hospitality. He is now working as a sous chef.

Lee nominated Cameron for the 2021 Career Progression Award for his remarkable resilience during a challenging time.

“He just kept on going and never let his condition stop him from achieving his goals," he enthuses. "Even though it was really challenging during the pandemic, he managed to complete his Maths and English and get his level 2 in catering and hospitality. Since he’s moved into his own flat, he’s really developed his independence and sets himself goals to save money and budget effectively. It’s been a pleasure to see how much he’s grown up and see the change from where he was to where he is now.”

Ever humble, Cameron says he is shocked to win the award and adds, “To be honest, we’re a team. I wouldn’t be winning this award if it wasn’t for my key workers supporting me to achieve my goals.”

Young person receiving their Centrepoint Award

Cameron receives his Centrepoint Award from Mica Paris

Working with corporate partners

Cameron also created recipes for Selfridges Season's Feastings magazine in 2022 and also for a recipe book Coventry Building Society with proceeds going to Centrepoint. He is just amazing!

We are really proud of Cameron and wish him all the best for the future.

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Watch Cameron's interview