Sharon 51 from High Hauxley joined Bridge Northumberland in March 2021, after her friend recommended Bridge to her. Sharon is a carer for her Mother and in the past has volunteered in Cancer Research and St Oswald’s charity shops. Sharon was looking for Bridge to support her with English and maths and learn employability skills. She would also like to learn how to use a computer and improve her general skills as she had left school with no formal qualifications.
Sharron was allocated Andrew as her one to one Bridge Worker. Andrew started by referring Sharon to Citizens Advice for a general financial MOT. Next it was onto BRIC for an IT assessment. After the initial assessment was completed Sharon was keen to enrol on the course ‘Introduction to Digital Skills Entry Level’, but felt she needed one to one face to face training. Training was arranged to be held in Amble library when the social distancing restrictions had been lifted.
Andrew then referred Sharon to Northern Learning Trust to get her support with her English and maths. After the one to one support sessions Sharon said she felt much more confident. Sharon actively engaged in all of the services offered to her and quickly made good progress despite services being restricted due to ongoing Covid 19 restrictions.
With Sharon’s confidence building she wanted to learn how to look for work. Her friend had been supported by the Employment Hub at Amble run by Community Action Northumberland and had recommended the Work Coach, Joy. Andrew arranged for Sharon to start at the Hub for weekly support with Joy. With Joy’s support Sharon created a CV and progressed to working on interview skills and job searching online.
In June 2021 Andrew identified an opportunity for Sharon. Alnwick Gardens were running a Grow into Work programme. The programme offered employability skills and a work placement for four weeks with a guaranteed interview on completion of the project. Joy at the Employment Hub was working closely with Sharon and suggested the project to her and Sharon agreed to give it a go.
Joy supported Sharon with how she would travel into Alnwick as she wasn’t familiar with the bus timetable and route. Andrew ensured the leader of the Grow into Work programme, Alastair was aware of client’s additional support needs and would also cover Sharon’s travel expenses. With arrangements in place the course started, the four weeks went well. On successfully completing the course Sharon gained an interview with Alnwick Gardens and was happy to be offered her first ever paid employment, to work at the Gardens after only ever having done volunteering.
Sharon started her new job in August 2021 and is thoroughly enjoying it. Her confidence and skills were improved by Bridge Northumberland and Sharon would join her friend in recommending Bridge Northumberland to others.