The Positive People project assists those out of work back into employment or self-employment with digital support and advice.
We run drop-in clubs in Digital Employability Skills, but also work on a one to one basis with many clients on the programme.
One of these clients was Jasmine, who was referred to us as a resident of North Devon Homes (NDH) – part of Positive People’s and NDH partnership – to work against the digital exclusion and barriers some people experience. Jasmine had previously been working in roles for charities and other similar organisations. She is awaiting another operation now, and due to health and other issues she faces in daily life she was unable to leave her house for most of the time.
I met Jasmine after she had been referred to us by Helen from the North Devon Homes Neighbourhood Team. Her wellbeing was still low and her outlook somewhat negative. She was even considering moving from the area because of her anxieties and emotional state at the time, even though she loved where she was living.
Jasmine wanted to be able to do more creative writing. She often enters Poetry competitions, both for enjoyment and for her own development as a writer, and her goal is to be able to sell her own work as a book (or books) on Amazon novellas or similar self-publishing sites. She had been writing and typing her pieces on a small Android phone which isn’t very easy to do for larger pieces of text.
Positive People provided her with a new laptop and we worked with her, showing her how to use Google Suite and Google Docs, to be able to type up her works more easily and save it securely using the cloud so she could access it anywhere. This also encouraged her to work outside of her home and to practice her admin skills, so she may be able to return to the workplace in-between writing in the future.
Jasmine has now joined a local rock choir and is getting out of the house a lot more. She is also having most of her meetings in town, in cafés or the library, so she can really make best use of her new device and shared Wi-Fi.
Below we have Jasmine’s summary of the support Positive People have given her in her own words:
“Three years ago, after a major operation, I eventually came home to a life-changing disability. It turned my life upside down, affected my relationship with my partner and friends, and broke my confidence. I didn’t go out of my house for over a year – only if I was forced by a doctor’s appointment.
“My housing officer came around to help me with an issue and when she realised I was struggling to go out, she suggested I speak to Positive People. This was rough to begin with as I didn’t meet people outside, they usually came to my home. The good thing about Lorenz was that he could visit me, so that made things easier for me. I’d lost my confidence and was very depressed. I had all sorts of negative thoughts going on, like, I bet he’s going to be some techno nerdy type, who means well, but will not fit in to my needs. I’d had various people around from Social services and NHS which left me feeling worse.
“So, I was pleasantly surprised when Lorenz turned up, very down to earth and easy to talk to. Most importantly, I felt safe, which for me is a big deal as I struggle with PTSD, which can lead me to mistrusting people. I had the opportunity to talk about some of the things I’ve always dreamt about doing but have lost the will to try anything new.
“I classed myself as a novice when it came to my computer skills, so after Lorenz had looked at what I could do and being told that I was competent, I felt much better about myself.
“After a few meetings with Lorenz and Andy from Positive People, my confidence grew. Lorenz showed me how to use certain apps , which enabled me to get involved with my interests more. I want to write a book and now I can start to attempt to make this happen.
“It would take me some time to tell you the various things Lorenz has explained to me and advice given. I just know that I feel confident again, that I can achieve more than I thought. Without Lorenz’s help I don’t think I would have thought it possible. It’s different when you have someone with a lot of knowledge showing you the ways around a computer, instead of through trial and error or reading books.
“Most of all, Lorenz is a great communicator. He put me at ease, has a sense of humour (thank goodness)! and is an interesting person to talk to. It’s been a real pleasure having the opportunity to meet him and gain his help.
Thanks very much to Jasmine for agreeing to be featured in this case study.
Positive People offer support to build hope, confidence and skills for people who are not in work. It is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.