After going through some difficult family circumstances, Jo wanted to find work that fit around her children. With support from Community Connections South, working with our partner CHS Group, she has found a job and feels she has turned her life around.

How did you first hear about the project & why were you interested?

A community development officer at my local church referred me to Jo, an employment adviser.

Please provide background information about your situation

I had not worked for a while. I am a single mum with 3 children receiving JSA. I have been through very difficult, personal family circumstances. I was keen to improve my English and Maths skills and gain qualification. In the longer term I am interested in working with children in primary school/pre-school. I was interested in returning to work part-time to fit around my children. The extra income would be very helpful with a growing family and sorting out my debts. I needed also help with updating my CV and writing covering letters/job applications.

What support did you received to start your training or education & what did you feel benefited you most? 

Jo and I looked at local English courses. She gave me information about the Adult English course run by Coleridge Community College. Jo booked me on a Skills Assessment course and was very encouraging. I started an English Course (Functional Skills course), Entry Level 3 at Coleridge Community College in September 2019. I am really enjoying the course. I have enrolled to continue my course (moving up to the next level) in September 2020. This experience has really helped build my confidence. The teacher is very good, and I have made friends with the other students attending the class.

What support did you receive for you to start paid employment & what did you feel benefited you most? 

Jo and I discussed the I needed a part-time, flexible job that fitted around my family and I wanted something local that I could travel easily to. Jo updated my CV and prepared covering letters. I started applying for part-time jobs on-line, uploading my CV and using the covering letter. I applied for a part-time catering assistant job at Debenhams and following an interview and successful job trial they offered me job. However, unfortunately, it was to work at weekends, and I do not have any childcare at weekends, so I did not accept the offer. However, sometime after that they contacted me again and offered me a part-time job during school hours. I have now started this job and I am really enjoying it.

What difference has the project made to you personally?

I am really enjoying working again. It has been good for me to get out of the house and meet new people. Having been through very difficult times – this has helped me move on with my life – giving me a fresh start. I like the people I work with and enjoy working as part of a term. I enjoy interacting with the customers. I have also made friend with the people I work with. It has been very good for my own well being and mental health. This work experience has really grown my confidence and self-esteem. Knowing that I am now able to help support my family financially. It has been so good to gradually pay off all my debts.

Are there any other comments you’d like to make about your participation in the project?

I have received a lot of support and encouragement from Jo in helping me move forward in my like. This has helped me feel very hopeful and positive about the future for myself and my family. I feel as though I have turned my life around by 180 degrees.