From advice to advisor

 From advice to advisor_x000D_ Image

At the start of 2020 Sarah found herself out of work and struggling to pay her bills. However, after working with our employment support team, a year later she is supporting others in a similar position as she once was.

When Sarah first met with the team she suffered with low confidence and was economically inactive due to mental health, but had dreamt of a career in counselling as she felt it was something she could relate to and enjoy.

She then signed up to Ongo Talk, which provides counselling and mental health support, and she also attended our Lone Parent Stepping Stones course. This is designed to provide skills and motivation to get participants back into training or work.

The support Sarah received motivated her to start her journey into employment and after successfully completing training, she is now a Volunteer Counsellor, working with around 4 people to help move them forward in their lives, working with issues such as depression, anxiety and low confidence and self-esteem.

Sarah said: “I would have never thought in my wildest dreams, that I would be where I am today, so many areas of Ongo carried me through so much in my life from trauma, grief, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence.

“It has been far from easy to get to where I am today. Tears, heartache and many talks of giving up, however with no end of support I have always pushed myself through. Anything you want to achieve is possible.

“The ongoing outcome of my journey was definitely worth every step of the fight for a better life for myself. Most importantly I can now support others on a similar journey, in finding the light that they have so been searching for, there is always light, we just need to find it.”

This support from us is part of our journey to work initiative which aims to get 700 people into employment or training each year. And it links to their overarching ‘create opportunities’ strategy, which we invest £1m into each year, as well as extra funding from external organisations.

Projects start from the bottom with life skills, employment, training and mental health support right through to collaborating with local organisations so they can access their own funding for apprentices and extra members of staff, or guidance for those wanting to set up their own business.

Maryanne Fitzgerald, our Engagement and Enterprise Manager said: “The ongo journey has been developed to offer a variety of programmes to support individuals towards gaining the skills needed to get into work or progress in their career and we have a number of projects that support this.”

Well done to Sarah on her progress and don’t forget if you know of anyone that needs employment support get them to call 01724 844848 or to fill out our form.