Mark struggled with his anxiety. Suffering from depression, he found it difficult to get out of his house and mix with new people, meaning he felt isolated and out of touch with the world.

Mark had always wanted to be a professional tattoo artist, but his mental health and income always held him back. That was until Mark’s support worker, Leeanne, told him about YouCan. With her help, he filled out the application form requesting a full grant of £300 to help him kick off his tattoo hobby, hopefully turning it into a career.

It wasn’t long before YouCan grant manager Elaine came back to Mark, approving his request in full. He was ecstatic, and quickly set about purchasing tattoo ink, pots, needles and guns, fake skin and stencils.

“He did lots of research and really looked after the grant money,” explains support worker Leeanne. “He pulled together his own starter kit and, with advice and guidance, tattooed some relatives.

“Some of his neighbours have also let him tattoo them and weren’t disappointed by his work. Some even donated money so he can progress his training and update his equipment.”

Mark understands he is still learning, so is hoping to start a traineeship at a local tattoo parlour. With professionals on hand to answer his questions and guide him, he hopes he will grasp new techniques for detail and shading.

Leeanne thinks the opportunity YouCan has provided Mark has been really positive. “He is extremely creative and has his own artwork displayed around his flat. This has given him something to concentrate on and has had a positive affect on his mental health.

“Even though he has not made any profit from this yet, it has really inspired him to try something new which makes him happy.”

Mark hopes to eventually become a mobile tattooist, but wants to build his skills before he makes the big jump.

“This is the first good thing that has happened to me for a long time. It is always something I have wanted to do but never had the income to be able to put my dreams into reality,” the budding tattooist tells us.

“Bromford and YouCan gave me the opportunity to do something creative and positive. When I am tattooing or drawing designs I don’t think or worry about anything else and my mind is clear. It’s a nice break for me.

“I am determined to make a career out of this, even though it will take a while. I really feel it will be worth it in the end and then hopefully I will be able to support myself and earn enough money to live comfortably.”