Sarah started on the Health Works for Cornwall (HWC) project with CSW Group in March 2021, having been referred from her local job centre. Sarah has always worked up until the pandemic, and she took this opportunity to get her physical and mental health under control. Sarah has a wealth of experience and skills to offer employers, from community care to logistics and car parts, but she also had self-employment ideas. Sarah has arthritis which meant that she was not able to return to the physically demanding community care roles.
Sarah has always kept her self-busy, doing various online training courses including teaching, and mechanics and she had self-employment ideas of combining these both. CSW Group supported Sarah to identify a number of self-employment organisations and she registered with the School of Social Entrepreneur, who talked through her ideas, and also recognized her need for some counselling support, which she took up. Through the HWC project her Change Coach continued to support Sarah’s ideas of running courses/sessions on basic vehicle maintenance as she has training and experience in this area. Together they researched level 3 mechanic courses for Sarah as this is a requirement to deliver any teaching, and Sarah had investigated the Teaching and Education certificate. In the short-term Sarah was also looking at administration and driving roles to fit in with her health, but felt that her CV and personal profile let her down.
CSW Group worked with Sarah to improve on her CV, and helped her complete application forms, and developed some good paragraphs that she could use both now and in the future. As well as supporting Sarah to think about her work goals, Sarah was also spending time managing her physical health, chasing GP appointments and scans, which had become a worry for her. Thankfully these are now being managed.
Sarah had spent a lot of time by herself, becoming withdrawn which was heightened by the pandemic. Sarah was interested in looking at volunteering, and other training or activities that were in the community. She was interested in volunteering with young people, but this proved difficult with covid restrictions. In May 2021, Sarah attended the online NHS workshop which her Change Coach referred her to through our HWC Partnership within the Cornwall Foundation Trust. She found the course very in-depth, and a real insight into the NHS and their application process, which left Sarah with some ideas for the future. Sarah was also offered support from Active Plus on their confidence and motivation course. Sarah kept up the momentum of job searching and moving herself forward. As the year went on Sarah felt it was more appropriate to look for part time administration roles that would use her skills, while putting the self-employment support on hold for the time being. Sarah continued to apply for several roles with utility companies and the NHS. Due to the end of the additional Covid Universal Payment, Sarah was concerned about her finances and how she would pay the bills. Winter wellbeing information was sent to Sarah by her CSW Group HWC Change Coach, to identify possible grants to help her with energy bills. After all Sarah’s hard work in applying for jobs, she was finally rewarded with being offered a part time contract with Halfords just before Christmas 2021, combining her customer skills, with the mechanics and car parts knowledge she has.
Sarah feels so much better for working and contributing to society, now she is off benefits. She is looking forward to being debt free and having some income to spend on herself.
Sarah said, ‘I really appreciate the help and advice Jennie gave me. It was so valuable at the time to motivate me into taking action in improving my situation. I don’t know exactly what the trigger was, but I can honestly say I am in such a different situation now. I would recommend them to anybody with similar issues.’