When Lorraine signed up to the Health Works for Cornwall project, Lorraine had been unemployed for seventeen years and was a single parent to two children who were sixteen and seven. Lorraine was feeling anxious about a return to the workplace and needed to carefully consider job roles, due to limited hearing in one ear. Lorraine’s job interests included working as a Teaching Assistant, but Lorraine was also interested in working in hospitality and would consider other roles such as working as a cleaner. The main concern Lorraine had around a return to work was childcare for her seven year old daughter, especially during the summer holidays. Lorraine had also advised that she found it difficult to manage her money, with her money stopping due to her sons age and with being paid monthly and requested some support around this. Lorraine also asked for some support around increasing her social network and to become more involved with positive activities.
Lorraine wanted to focus on employability skills: CV, jobsearch, job applications and interview preparation to build her confidence in these areas. Lorraine felt that with some confidence building and support with managing her anxieties she would be able to progress as these were preventing Lorraine from moving forward. Lorraine’s Change Coach also supported Lorraine to review her finances and budgeting, and through this advised Lorraine of the Work Allowance and Flexible Support Fund which meant that Lorraine would be better off in work and would also receive support with childcare costs, encouraging Lorraine to ask about this further at her jobcentre appointment. With this information, and understanding the benefits of gaining work, Lorraine felt determined to find employment and was unexpectedly successful in gaining employment at her daughter’s school, working as a cleaner from 3:30pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday equivalent to 12.5 hours a week. This role was initially to cover sickness so Lorraine was unsure if it would continue and had concerns about her first wage payment and how this might affect her universal credit payment which the Change Coach supported and advised on. Lorraine also wanted to increase her social network, so using their local knowledge the Change Coach provided information on local activities and groups. Lorraine’s anxieties around her wage payments and universal credit payments continued as she was always unsure what she would receive so the Change Coach provided ongoing support around this and also support with how to claim back Lorraine’s daughter’s childcare costs, showing Lorraine how to upload this information onto her universal credit account each time. Reassurance was also given, explaining that Lorraine will get into a routine with it.
Lorraine had been referred for a health assessment by her Jobcentre Adviser, which was due to her limited hearing in one ear and through the HWC project, Lorraine’s Change Coach supported her to attend this appointment, ensuring that this was all managed and completed within school hours (lessening Lorraine’s anxieties around being there for her daughter). Lorraine was supported and encouraged to look at job roles that would increase her hours to more than 12.5 hours a week and to support this, Lorraine’s Change Coach completed a Better Off in work Calculation (BOC) so Lorraine could see how her monthly income would increase. Lorraine and her Change Coach completed a jobsearch session and found local opportunities to apply for and ensured that Lorraine’s CV was up to date. However, with Lorraine’s current role fitting so well with her children and everything being in place with childcare, Lorraine was reluctant to move away from the security of this. Lorraine’s Change Coach has continued to support Lorraine, with her concerns about rising fuel bills, advising on budgeting and planning ahead for the future.
Lorraine has exited the project as employed (12.5 hours a week) which she has sustained since April 2021. Now that Lorraine has experienced the difference that being in work has made to both her life and her children’s, Lorraine hopes that she can increase her hours by gaining another job role within the school.
‘Hi I am Lorraine I started the project back in April last year what an amazing year it has been two weeks into the project I got a job as a cleaner in a school I had been out of work for 17 years when they said I had the job I felt amazing. Nikki has been amazing help to me. She has help me get childcare costs back with universal credit, helped me sort after school care for my daughter. Helped me work out money to see how much I would have for bills and what I will have left over. Being in work has changed my life for the better as before I could not treat my kids or take them anywhere was always worrying how I was going to feed us now I don’t have to worry about running out of food. I have also took my kids Christmas shopping in Plymouth treated them to takeaways bought new household items like sofa fridge freezer never could do that before got myself a provisional driving licence and got my son one too for his 18th birthday. If it wasn’t for this project and Nikki I wouldn’t be were (sic) I am today she has helped me so much with my confidence I owe her everything thank you for being there and helping me with everything going to miss our appointments thank you for this opportunity. Miss Lorraine Baptiste.’