Caroline* moved into The Benjamin Foundation supported accommodation at Forward Court in 2018. She previously lived with family but relationships became increasingly difficult and they eventually broke down completely – leaving Caroline facing the prospect of having nowhere to live.
She contacted the Local Authority to see if they could help with her search for accommodation and she was referred to Forward Court, our accommodation centre in Aylsham, for further discussions. Caroline’s circumstances meant we could offer her a place to live. This was a huge relief for her; if she hadn’t secured a place, she didn’t know where to turn next and she may have been homeless.
When she moved into Forward Court she was in the middle of a one-year apprenticeship, but unfortunately she then became unwell. This impacted on her mental health and she found herself dealing with the additional challenges of anxiety and depression, which made it very difficult to continue with her apprenticeship and she ended up leaving.
However, thanks to her move to Forward Court, Caroline was able to access a well-being service through her GP and things are now improving for her due to the help she is receiving. Her Support Worker is providing valuable help about how to manage her tenancy, and her wellbeing and self-esteem is steadily increasing.
In addition to the support received from the team at Forward Court, Caroline has also been working with Sharon Coggins, our Job Coach, to look at various options to improve her education and access to training. Caroline decided that going to college or taking on another apprenticeship wasn’t for her so she and Sharon looked at online training and independent training providers.
With financial assistance from the bursary fund from End Youth Homelessness and Eversheds Sutherland, Caroline initially undertook a Level 3 Diploma. She enjoyed this and proudly obtained her certificates. She then met with Sharon again and decided that she’d like to explore the world of beauty – in particular, massage.
Caroline and Sharon worked hard to identify additional courses in this field and Caroline was able to attend a two day Aromatherapy Massage course. As well as the practical element of this, she has to carry out five cases studies and a complete a workbook. She is currently working her way through this and hopes when she completes it, she will look at doing additional courses to compliment this and gain additional qualifications.
Job Coach Sharon highlighted a vacancy for a receptionist at a local beauty salon, which was ideal for Caroline. She applied for this part time position and secured the role. She really enjoyed it and was gaining plenty of valuable experience of the beauty trade. Unfortunately due to staffing restructure, the position was no longer necessary, and Caroline found herself out of work. However, she was not deterred and she made an appointment with the Job Coach to explore her options again and signed up for more online courses. She has now successfully completed the online massage for special needs course and has obtained her diploma. In addition she has signed up for an online mediation diploma, which she is now also working her way through.
Caroline is positive about the future and wants to set up her own mobile massage business. She will continue to work with the Job Coach to look at her options for training in the future whilst she remains at Forward Court.
Update: February 2019:
Caroline has gone from strength to strength; she completed and passed her aromatherapy massage diploma and will be furthering her skills soon by taking an additional course in Indian Head Massage. She has also completed a further online diploma and has signed up for two more. She has also been volunteering local play activity sessions is really enjoying this.
She is also considering becoming self-employed to carry out beauty treatments and is currently looking at options, including reaching out to other agencies to gain support in starting up her own business.
Job Coach, Sharon Coggins says: “Caroline has made amazing progress from the person I first met early last year and is really focused on what she wants to do in the future. Her mental health and self-esteem has improved and things are looking bright.”
*name has been changed
Doors have opened for me to improve my general quality of life and improve my chances of a stable career.