Debbie 62 from Bellingham joined Bridge Northumberland in February this year after being made redundant and unemployed for 2 years. Facing serious challenges with her health and under pressure from the Job Centre, Debbie was struggling to find suitable work.
In her first call with Teck, her one-to-one Bridge Worker, Debbie explained how she had worked for over 40 years as a Senior Care Assistant, she had experience and was fully qualified. The years of working in a role caring for others was now taking a toll on Debbie’s own physical health. And she could no longer do the job she had enjoyed. In recent years her mobility had been impacted with operations for two artificial knees, regular steroid injections for daily pain and now waiting on a hip replacement. She has difficulty in walking any distance and was having to use a stick. Despite her physical difficulties Debbie wanted to look for work but felt it would be challenging to what job she could do not only with her physical difficulties but her age too.
Teck started with an offer of a financial review for Debbie with our partner Northumberland Citizens Advice, to check she was receiving any entitlements she was due. Debbie had applied for a PIP and was awaiting a response. Sadly her PIP was turned down, and with retirement age raised for woman from 60 to 65 she needed to continue with her search for work.
Debbie was keen to see what new skills she could learn to help her retrain and look for work in new area. She did an IT assessment with our partner BRIC, and was keen to have basic IT training, but felt it would need to be face to face for her to be able to take it in. Debbie also felt she needed support in creating a CV and job searching as her own attempts using ‘Indeed’ hadn’t been successful.
With Debbie’s requests in mind training was organised to take place at the Hexham Employment hub with our partner Community Action Northumberland. They were able to offer fortnightly face to face sessions and Teck was able to cover the travel costs for Debbie to drive to the sessions. At the sessions the employment coaches Michelle and Janet started by helping set up her new phone so her emails go straight to her phone. Debbie has started on the ‘Learn My Way’ programme and learning other IT skills to support herself online and to be able to keep in touch with her family who aren’t local to her.
Debbie is enjoying the sessions and says: “the employment hub atmosphere is welcoming and like a family. I feel at ease learning with them. They are all so lovely”.
Despite having a ‘not fit for work’ note Debbie felt the Job Centre were putting her under pressure to full fill her commitments to search for work. After fall in September as she got out of her car caused Debbie to have to miss a session. Teck suggested they work on learning video calling so if the weathers bad and she can’t get to the Employment Hub she won’t miss a session or could do them weekly online, still enabling Debbie to have some social contact each week.
Debbie says of Teck “Teck has been lovely with me and so helpful all the time.”
Debbie is making every effort to help herself find work but her health issues are against her. She has been willing to learn new skills and try new things but her physical difficulties are getting worse. With this in mind she feels it’s time to try and reapply for PIP and with Teck and Northumberland Citizens Advice supporting her with her application we hope the outcome is successful for her. In the meantime she continues with her IT sessions and hopes her hip replacement will be not be too far off!