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Life after BBO - Aaron's Story

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small local projects. Building Better Opportunities is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, the project is designed to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion throughout Worcestershire.

Aaron was referred to Vestia by Kidderminster Job Centre in April 2018. Aaron had previously been employed but at the time of meeting, he had been out of work for 20 months and felt unsure about his future plans and was struggling with his anxieties. Aaron worked with his BBO job coach to overcome many barriers, increase his confidence, improve his job searching skills and creating a plan for going forward. Aaron enrolled in a Counselling course, which was the beginning of his 5 year plan. We recently caught up with Aaron to find out how he is getting on.

What was the biggest factor in making you decide to join the BBO programme? 

I was referred to BBO by my work coach at the JCP, they had explained to me that BBO could offer me personalised one-to-one support that would support me with my social anxiety.

My brother was also receiving support from BBO Job Coach, Laura, and he had told me how the programme was suited to his specific needs and that it would be the same for me. He told me how Laura had a relaxed approach to the support that she was able to offer.

What part of BBO supported you the most?

My Job Coach, Laura, who was understanding of my individual needs right from the start. She was able to offer me personalised support that really helped me to achieve goals I would never have thought possible. She challenged me to try new things, some of which were really difficult for me but with the support and encouragement she offered, I was able to achieve these small steps which led to huge achievements for me. 

Laura worked with me at a pace that suited my needs, with her guidance and by investigating different options with her I was able to find the direction I actually wanted to go in and I now have a long-term plan.  Laura and the team at BBO were always so welcoming and caring.

How did BBO help you to achieve your goals?

The flexibility of the BBO programme allowed us to meet in different locations and for me to face new challenges to help my anxiety. Social and public situations were always a struggle for me, but I can now confidently face these situations.

When I reached a point where I felt confident enough to want to apply for a college course, Laura helped me prepare my CV and we went over interview tips and techniques. Interviews were always a massive cause of anxiety for me so to be able to attend and succeed at my college interview was a huge step and I wouldn’t have done this without Laura.

What did you enjoy the most about your college course and why?

For me it has been a mixture of things; the sense of personal growth, making new friends and getting validation that I chose the right path and supporting even more with my confidence. The things that I have learnt as part of the course have enabled me to reflect on my own situation and anxieties, and supported me further to address these.

How has being in education changed your life?

I am a lot more self-confident and aware of my own struggles. I look forward to going to college every week and the study that is involved in my course. I have received good feedback from my tutor and I intend to continue on this path starting my Level 4 Diploma in September. I have a 5 year plan and intend on completing the education I require to become a fully qualified councillor.

What advice would you give to other people thinking about joining BBO?

Throw yourself into it; BBO can offer massive support and guidance and as long as you are willing to work with them and accept the support your Job Coach can give you to move forward and achieve your goals, you will!

Laura and BBO is brilliant, the support and flexibility of the BBO programme is like nothing else. I have been on lots of support programmes and worked with many other support agencies but BBO is by far the best!

Published - 17 May 2019