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Health Works for Cornwall supports Heather to take positive steps towards employment

When Heather signed up to the Health Works for Cornwall project, she was 23 years old and living in a room in a shared house but was going to be made homeless which was unexpected. Heather also had several undiagnosed health conditions for which she took high pain relief and was in regular contact with her GP.

Heather was registered on home choice and was bidding on properties. Heather’s Change Coach advised on housing further, suggesting that Heather looks out for rooms to rent and to contact the Citizen Advice Cornwall (CAC) for further advice and support on housing but would also support Heather with making a claim for PIP (Personal Independence Payments), which Heather felt she may be able claim. Heather and her Change Coach also discussed other potential housing options/back up plans and Heather advised that she had a sister who she may be able to stay with. Heather moved out of the room she was renting in a shared house and temporarily went to stay with a friend but this was not a permanent arrangement. Heather continued to be supported by her Change Coach to find her own accommodation.

Whilst being supported with her housing and also discussing Heather’s health, Heather and her Change Coach started to discuss future plans and career goals. It was through these discussions that the Change Coach linked Heather in with the Prince’s Trust, starting with a photography course which Heather really enjoyed as they also discussed digital art which was an area of interest for Heather.

Heather’s health concerns continued through her time on the Health Works for Cornwall project and Heather continued to have further investigations which included scans, blood tests, seeing a gastro specialist and being referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Upon previous contact with a gastro specialist they had advised on a referral to Talk Works for anxiety.  Heather and I discussed making a referral to this service as Heather felt that if her health problems are anxiety related, they could be resolved with this support. Heather’s Change Coach also advised on a range of other services that may offer support such as the Expert Patient Programme, Silver Cloud, Outlook South West and The Pearl Exchange which offer a range of services that include counselling but also many different workshops.

During her time on the Health Works for Cornwall project, Heather had a limited capability for work assessment and was advised that she was not eligible for this but Heather’s health concerns continued, and her GP supported with referrals for x-rays and to specialist support. Heather’s Change Coach advised on the Active Plus Confidence and Motivation course but Heather was initially unsure and didn’t think she could commit to this due to the day it was run on clashing with her food shopping day.  However, when the course changed to another day and ran in Heather’s local area, Heather committed and attended.

Through Heather’s challenges with her health and housing, the Change Coach and Heather discussed Heather’s work goals, with Heather linked in with the Princes Trust photography course and a plan to engage with their Enterprise course. Heather expressed an interest in becoming a tattoo artist, with the Change Coach advising on this and explaining that a first step would be to put together a portfolio of work that could be used to approach an employer to request an apprenticeship opportunity. Alongside this the Change Coach also advised on the employer benefits of recruiting an apprentice, which Heather could use when approaching employers, and made sure that Heather’s CV was in good shape.

Heather was guided to explore online courses that may support Heather’s progression into this career path. With Heather’s goal of becoming a tattoo artist in mind, we discussed the benefits of completing a first aid course, which would be a requirement and a useful qualification to gain when approaching employers. Heather was therefore linked in with, funded and attended a one day first aid at work course and leaves the project with this qualification. Heather’s challenges with her health continued and Heather was awarded limited capability for work, which meant that she didn’t have a requirement to look for work but needed to make the steps to prepare for work.

Heather and her Change Coach have reviewed her time on the project and looking forward to where the next 12 months will lead. Heather has been encouraged to consider Kickstart vacancies but feels that as an initial first step she would like to start with something more low level and feels there may be the opportunity for a few hours at the local cinema. During her time on the HWC project, Heather has been advised on a range of services that can support her going forward.

Whilst on the Health Works for Cornwall project Heather has gained a first aid qualification, completed the Active Plus confidence and motivation course, been advised on the steps to become a tattoo artist, and is linked in with the Prince’s Trust who will continue to support Heather on her journey forward.

‘I feel the HealthWorks project helped me a lot with my mental health and helped with my motivation and confidence, I was given advice about things that I never knew existed. I always felt that the appointments, were a safe space where I could talk about anything, which really helped a lot. I liked how I was encouraged to attend courses that were outside of my comfort zone, which I am really glad I did as if I hadn’t, I would still be in the same place I was twelve months ago.’

Heather has real hopes and dreams for the future with goals to progress into the piercing and tattooing industry and eventually set herself up with her own business. For now, Heather will continue to focus on her health, engage with the Prince’s Trust and embrace any other opportunities which are offered, which will put Heather in the best possible position for her future.


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