Client A* came to the People 1st Community Family Support Programme with the aim of of changing her life. Having moved to Northern Ireland, fifteen years ago, life had been anything but easy for our client and she really needed our support. After suffering years of domestic violence and spending several years with her son in Women’s Aid facilities, this client has been driven to change the course of her life for the better. On divorcing her husband, she was cast out by all her social groups and connections, and struggled to make ends meet – reluctantly relying on benefits.
When the client came to the CFSP team she had unsuccessfully applied for over 40 jobs. It was clear from the outset that this client, like so many of our clients, needed much more than job seeking support. Suffering from low confidence and self-esteem due to years of trauma, she struggled to articulate how incredible she was, as a person, an employee, and also as a mother. As financial worries weighed heavily on her mind, we could see first hand how the pressure of this was impacting her mental health and wellbeing.
When the Family Liaison Officer started working with client A, they were able to adapt the our wrap around service, to focus initially on building confidence and improving mental health. This approach allowed the client to see her goals and work towards a fitting career path, as opposed to a short-term fix. She was allowed the space to delve into her past working experience in Bangladesh and how life events had enabled her to develop skills that she herself could not see.
The Family Liaison Officer worked with this client closely to find ways to alleviate her financial worries and to work out a plan for better money management, by using budgeting and income trackers to create a plan with a clear breakdown of income and help allow her to become more financially independent. This in turn allowed her to build confidence, self-esteem, and pride and support her when she came off benefits and into employment. This work was key as the client is a single parent, with no maintenance support. We were able to provide client A with essential food parcels including suitable dietary produce, which ensured that she and her son did not go hungry. This helped her to maintain her pride and dignity in this difficult economic situation and allowed her to use the money saved to go towards reducing fuel poverty in the cold winter months.
Furthermore, the Family Liaison Officer was able to support client A with confidence building to take part in interview preparation with our Employment Engagement Officer and provide her with a clear plan of action- for everything from the journey, to possible questions that would be asked. Client A has also benefitted from CFSP Driving Theory Preparation classes, to help start on the pathway of learning how to drive. These steps all helped with confidence and building of achievable long-term goals.
After being supported to address the personal family barriers by the Family Liaison Officer, client A was prepared and ready to begin employability support with the Employment Engagement Officer in relation to her job goals and barriers. From reviewing case history and communicating with the Family Liaison Officer on a regular basis, the Employment Engagement Officer within the CFSP programme was able to identify the support needed to help the client move forward.
Without this support this client would have still been applying for work with limited success, thus impacting again on confidence, self-esteem, and repeated negativity from unsuccessful applications.
With the support and guidance of the Employment Engagement Officer, the client set about re-building and structuring her CV and discussed employment goals and learning requirements to aid future employment outcomes. We were able to access information and source a Childcare, Learning and Development course, which without help, this client would not have known about this or been confident enough to take advantage of the learning opportunity.
We were able to help her to register for the recognised and required qualification in CCLD (Child Care, Learning & Development). On facilitating the client to begin studying this course, we also identified realistic employment opportunities close to where she lived, as this helped with travel and childcare barriers that had previously impacted on her employability and career pathway. Having somewhere closer to home was a vital cog and important to our client, due to her full family responsibilities.
Finally, with the Employment Engagement Officer, client A built three different versions of her CV which were adapted to suit a variety of applications. This supported confidence building career goals directly, and helped with interview prep. We identified three job posts and assisted with the application process of each. To extend the support, the CFSP team member agreed to make speculative calls to employers, to check if there was any current vacancies- something the client did not have the confidence to do. Through this direct approach we were able to secure two interviews with prospective employers. After preparing the client for interview, and through her newfound confidence, and support from the CFSP team, she was successful in being offered positions with both employers after completing the interview process.
On the back of these opportunities, we have seen the clients confidence grow considerably, and belief in herself has developed exponentially, securing two offers of employment and being able to decide which one she would prefer to take.
As the client herself explains:
“The support I received has been amazing and without the support from People 1st CFSP, none of this would have been possible. I was totally unaware of the support available and the changes that have come about will improve not only my life but also my son’s, thank you all so much”.
Finally, over the past few months we have seen this client thrive and her confidence has flourished through the CFSP programme. The pathway of her life and that of her sons really has changed massively for the better- she has enrolled and commenced her learning in her chosen childcare course and commenced employment in an area she has always dreamed of.
On reflection of the support provided by CFSP to A, we recognise that without access to this support she would not be in training or employment and would have continued to struggle with mental health, lifestyle and lack of access to improve financial opportunities. This impact would have had a detrimental effect on our client, her son and their family stability and economic future. We are delighted to have been able to support her and guide client A and help achieve this fantastic outcome for everyone.
*we have named the client A to protect their identity as we offer a fully confidential service.