“It’s helped me change my life” – Victoria’s story

Victoria has one daughter and two grown up sons. Victoria has had a stroke which impacts the type of employment she can do as her arm movements can be restricted. This meant that she could not return to her former employment as a Hairdresser.

Victoria found out about Hopeful Families from a leaflet at Castleford Library advertising a drop-in session and activities for children; which she attended with her six year old daughter.

Victoria said that the Hopeful Families project helped her to get her confidence back after the death of her 26 year old daughter. Following this, Victoria said she did not trust anyone and did not want to go out in public, even to go out shopping. She would not leave the house or open the curtains. Victoria said that she would take her younger daughter to school in her pyjamas and then go back to bed until she had to pick her up from school again.

Victoria said “The Family Mentor gave me lots of help and would do everything. If there were any problems she would help to deal with them, whatever they were”.

Victoria was unable to deal with any correspondence. She said that she had missed some appointments at the doctors and they had said that she would have to look for another GP. The Family Mentor helped her to appeal the decision so that this did not happen. Other help included dealing with benefits, writing letters and making phone calls to sort out Council Tax and a TV Licence. The Family Mentor provided Victoria with a computer and arranged for some online training including Maths and English. Victoria is also seeing a counsellor – funded through Hopeful Families via the National Lottery Community Fund.

Victoria found it physically and emotionally hard to go to the Jobcentre, and often had to take a heart monitor and BP machine with her to the appointment. Victoria was previously on ESA, but due to a gap in sick notes from her GP was now on JSA. The Family Mentor has helped Victoria apply for PIP and accompanied her to the assessment. Victoria was not awarded PIP, so the Family Mentor is now helping her to undertake the appeals process.

Victoria said “The 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, and then set the alarm to pick her up again, cook a meal and then go back to bed”.

Victoria is a participant on Hopeful Families at Groundwork and is now on Right Steps to Work at Dominion Training. She is also registered to do a course at Dominion.

Victoria would like to do a fashion design course in Leeds and the Family Mentor is supporting Victoria to see if she can find any courses that she may be able to do.

She would like to run her own business in the future. This may be related to fashion design, running her own beauty salon or a delivery food service of African products. She would also like to learn to drive to increase her employment options.