An ex-SHP client has won an award at Transport for London’s (TfL’s) prestigious London Bus Awards, celebrating his dedication to good customer service.

Patrick, who was supported by SHP's Islington Aftercare Service, won the ‘Hello London Award for Outstanding Customer Service’ and was awarded the prize at a glitzy ceremony at City Hall.

Pat began working with our Islington Aftercare service in 2016, attending intuitive recovery and a range of work readiness workshops to help him build up his confidence to re-enter employment. With previous experience as a bus driver, we supported him to renew his license and retrain.  He then joined HTC group, a social enterprise, as a bus driver with route 26, from Hackney Wick to Waterloo station.

Best Bus Driver in London

Pat won the award after receiving an extraordinary 45 commendations from the travelling public for his warmth and customer service, with many referring to him as the ‘best bus driver in London’

“People always ask why I’m so happy” said Pat. “It’s just if I’m not smiling or talking to people, I’m miserable. It’s a conscious decision to do more every day, to sort my face out. I just want people to get on my bus to lower their guard, smile and have a good time.  People seem to enjoy it more, talk between them. I want to enhance their journey”

“I’m a human being first, so I don’t just act like the bus driver. I act like the passenger too, and how I’d want that bus to be.”

As well as winning the TfL award, Pat was also recognised for his outstanding service nationally, nominated as the Top London Bus Driver at the UK Bus Awards.

She believed in me before I believed in myself.

Pat said: “SHP were amazing – patient and professional. They helped me see that there was more out there. My support worker, Amanda, was continually on my case, and gave me the push forward I needed. She believed in me before I believed in myself.”

SHP’s Achieving Potential programme is aiming to support even more clients into work over the coming year.

Pat added: “I’ve been homeless, I’ve been in prison, I’ve been an addict. I often thought how did I get here? Without SHP’s support, I’d still be on benefits. Now I’m now a tax-paying citizen and everything.”

Photo © Alex Grace