Action Towards Inclusion helps Hannah into her dream career
01 April, 2019
The York and Scarborough team are a delivery partner for Action Towards Inclusion (ATI), mentoring lone parents across York, Scarborough and Ryedale, and have helped many people build their confidence and skills to get into employment. See here how they helped Hannah get into her dream career...
Hannah is a single mum of three children and originally joined the ATI project to gain support accessing learning. Hannah was passionate about alternative therapies but lacked the confidence, experience and financial capacity to gain the qualification she needed to set up as a reflexologist.
Hannah and her children had recently moved out of a hostel and were starting to rebuild their lives after fleeing a violent partner. Hannah was extremely shy and anxious and was unable to complete simple tasks such as making a phone call. Hannah also has bipolar and there were many gaps in her work history. As a result, Hannah was concerned that she was unemployable due to the stigma surrounding mental health and aimed instead to become self-employed.
Unfortunately, Hannah had been left with numerous debts from her previous relationship. In addition, she was not receiving child maintenance from the children’s fathers. We worked together to resolve the debt problems and Hannah was supported to apply for direct pay from Child Maintenance Options. Finances were often tight, and the family had to rely on foodbank vouchers to ease them through this transitional period.
Though Hannah’s budget issues were resolved, financial capacity remained a barrier to her moving forward into education. We researched all the options and finally began an exceptional expenses request to allow her to achieve her dream.
Hannah remained shy, but as she grew to trust the relationship, she opened up that her long-term ambition was to practice acupuncture. Hannah felt that she was unable to commit to several years of training, it was simply too daunting, and she lacked belief in herself. Hannah felt that reflexology was a ‘softer’ and more manageable step. We worked together to break down the steps that Hannah needed to take to move forward with this goal.
To address Hannah’s anxiety, she was enrolled on a Confidence Building Course, run by The Workers' Educational Association (WEA) as an ATI Wellbeing Intervention. This was a pivotal moment for Hannah. The course really struck a cord with her and week by week she literally blossomed.
As her confidence grew, so did her ambition. Hannah arranged to attend an open day at the acupuncture college and loved it. She arranged for an interview and was granted an unconditional offer the same day.
We worked together to help her dream become reality. We supported Hannah to complete a budget, bringing together information from student finance and DWP to ensure that she could continue to support the family as well as attending college. ATI agreed to pay for Hannah’s enrolment expenses and paid for birth certificates for her children so that she could access funds from student finance. Hannah was supported with all the changes she needed to make to move from economically inactive to full time student.
Hannah successfully rebuilt life for her and her children. They have a safe home, with finances in order, Hannah is feeling so much better in herself, she is enrolled on a degree course which she never believed would be possible for her. Hannah is looking forward to setting up in private practice after graduation.
Hannah reports that “without ATI I would still be sat at home, alone, with the door locked and the curtains closed, feeling depressed and doing nothing”. Hannah felt that without support she would have given up on her dreams as she so often had done in the past. Hannah said having ongoing support and being kept on track was so helpful, as was the fact that “you didn’t laugh at me, you took me seriously and made it all seem possible, you believed in me.”
For further information about Action Towards Inclusion, click here.
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