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Victoria's Story

Posted on 14 March 2019

Not able to find suitable employment and struggling with confidence, Victoria came across the Hopeful Families programme in a leaflet at Castleford Library, and just at the right moment!

Hopeful Families is an exciting community programme, specialising in early intervention for at-risk families & assisting individuals facing multiple challenges with the support & tools they need to turn their lives around.

Victoria recently suffered a stroke, which impacted the type of physical work she is able to do. With her arm movements more restricted, she is unable to return to her job as a hairdresser, and has struggled to find work elsewhere.

Victoria has three children, but she entered a very difficult period in her life following on from the tragic death of her 26 year old daughter - something Victoria is still struggling with and grieving about.

Victoria lost trust in people and didn’t want to go out in public anymore, even to go shopping. She struggled to leave the house, only doing so to take her younger daughter to school, then going back to bed until she had to pick her daughter up again.

Feeling socially isolated and unable to communicate with others, Victoria missed some appointments at the doctors and because of this, was told she would have to look for another GP.

This is when Victoria found Hopeful Families and was introduced to her Family Mentor. The Family Mentor’s role is to provide tailor-made support, designed to assist people out-of-work to build confidence & encourage personal growth.

Together, the two discussed the barriers in Victoria’s life and gave her an opportunity to express her ambitions and how she envisioned her life’s path, as well as how to work towards overcoming her current situation. Victoria has an entrepreneurial spirit, and would like to run her own business in the future, expressing an interest in fashion design, running her own beauty salon or a delivery food service of African products.

“My Family Mentor helped me to change my life as I was down. The only thing I did was take my daughter to school, go back to bed, set the alarm to pick her up again, cook a meal, and then go back to bed.

To help Victoria get back into work the Family Mentor provided her with a computer and arranged for online training including maths and English, as well as an appointment at the Job Centre. Victoria found it challenging both physically and emotionally to go to the Job Centre, often having to take a heart monitor and blood pressure machine with her to the appointment. Victoria was on Employment and Support Allowance, but due to a gap in sick notes from her GP she was put on to Job Seekers Allowance. The Family Mentor helped Victoria apply for PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and accompanied her to the assessment.

Her Family Mentor also enabled Victoria to have sessions with a Counsellor, funded through the Hopeful Families National Lottery Community Fund.

With ambitions to run her own business in the future, Victoria has been looking for a fashion design course in nearby Leeds. Having previously found some courses that were unfortunately too expensive, her Family Mentor has supported Victoria in narrowing her search to find more suitable alternatives.

Victoria’s family mentor has supported her with many things, such as dealing with benefit problems; writing letters and making phone calls to sort out Council Tax and her TV Licence, also appealing the doctor’s decision to ask Victoria to find another GP.

But most importantly, Victoria said that the Hopeful Families project has helped get her confidence back after the death of her daughter.

“The Family Mentor gave me lots of help and would do everything and if there were any problems would deal with them whatever they were


If you want to learn more about Hopeful Families for yourself or someone you know, please contact us on 01924 666269, visit our Hopeful Families page: https://www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/newy/Pages/hopeful-familiesnewy, or email jobsandskills@groundwork.org.uk.

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