As a qualified Chef, Lawrence had worked in the catering industry for many years, including 9-10 seasons as a Chalet Chef for ski resorts across Europe.

With a combination of health-related conditions, Lawrence found himself unable to work.

Being out of work had a negative impact on Lawrence’s confidence and despite really wanting to return to work, he struggled to overcome these barriers.

After hearing about Halifax Opportunities Trust’s Employment Team through his sister, Lawrence approached the team and joined their Big Lottery/ESF funded Hopeful Families programme. Lawrence was paired with a mentor who helped him to develop an action plan that would enable him to find work back in the catering industry.

To help Lawrence with his loss of confidence and anxiety, he was offered life-coaching which gave him valuable coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult situations. As Lawrence had been out of work for over 12 months before joining the Hopeful Families programme, his mentor suggested he undertake voluntary work to continue building his confidence and self-esteem.

A placement at a local trust kitchen was found by Lawrence’s Mentor and benefitted Lawrence by getting him back into the routine of working and giving him confidence in his abilities. In fact, after enjoying his volunteering placement so much, Lawrence continues to volunteer there regularly.

After volunteering, Lawrence underwent a successful work trial at a local Mexican restaurant which alongside his life-coaching and confidence-building course prepared him to start applying for paid work in earnest.

Knowing that Lawrence would need work locally to where he lives in Hebden Bridge, his Progression Coach began approaching contacts at the many bars and restaurants in and around the Hebden Bridge area.

Lawrence secured an interview at one of Hebden Bridge’s most popular gastro-pubs and, putting his new found confidence and work experience into practice, Lawrence was successful in gaining paid employment.

Lawrence says “I could have never have imagined being in this position without Halifax Opportunities Trust. Their Employment Team supported me from start to finish, and I still call in regularly after volunteering to see Lisa and the team.

“They’ve given me my spark back!”