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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 a National Lottery Community and ESF funded project designed to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion throughout Worcestershire, this project is proud to tell you the story of Barbara.

Barbara was referred to Building Better Opportunities by her Job Centre Work Coach when she attended an appointment at the Job Centre for support after being put into the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance after a recent bereavement. Barbara was keen to start thinking about the future but was a little unsure on where to start.

It took a few sessions for Barbara to find her feet, but through a gentle approach we started to talk about all the skills that she had developed whilst being a full time Carer for her husband. Barbara’s confidence started to grow we developed her CV, which she is very proud of, and created a cover letter template. We started to think about possible career routes for her, all the while giving consideration to her health conditions. Throughout her time on programme Barbara has been very proactive and keen to take steps to improve her own well-being and has been referred to Worcestershire Healthy Minds, who have supported her through small group sessions. Barbara has now started looking for volunteering work to gain some up-to-date work experience and test the waters with returning to work. Barbara is keen to return to work and is thinking that Administration would be the best route for her, we researched courses to update her computer skills and she has started an IT Functional Skills course at The Point in Kidderminster.

Barbara was struggling with some mental health issues following her bereavement, but she wanted to try to start to think about her future and returning to work. The biggest issue for Barbara was that she has severe eczema, this means that the type of work that she can do is really limited. We discussed various options and she feels that a return to Administration may be the best route for her as she has done this before and knows that she is capable of it.

After attending the programme on a regular basis, having a safe space for open discussions and being able to bounce ideas around, it is been clear that Barbara has become more focussed towards her goals. She has always been proactive in following through on our ideas and suggestions.

Barbara speaks highly of her time on Building Better Opportunities saying ‘It has allowed me become more grounded about the future, given me the confidence to realise that I do have useful skills and helped me consider my future to be more positive. Throughout, I have been treated with kindness, compassion and plenty of patience. I would be happy to recommend BBO to anyone to help rebuild self-esteem and identify their hidden skills.’

Barbara plans to continue with her IT course at The Point and gain an up-to-date qualification. She also hopes to secure a volunteering placement alongside this with a view to moving into work in the near future.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from the support of a dedicated Job Coach who will work with you to build on your own strengths and abilities to gain the confidence and skills to move into work please get in touch now, we are waiting to hear from you.

Call 01562 733133, or email