In this guest post we meet our Employment and Training Links
“success story of the month” Leonora Hayes.
Leonora was a client on our Jobshop Community Outreach Project and was supported into work by Community Links Advisor Eugenie Coles.
Leonora was made redundant after 14 years in the leisure industry; she began looking for part time work to fit around her two children’s school hours. Initial contact was through the Children Centre based at their school
Community Links operate an outreach service in community settings and it was here Leonora first encountered her advisor Eugenie Coles. She says. “Eugenie’s desk was right at the entrance of the children centre so it was hard to miss her; I had nothing to lose and extra help was very much appreciated”.
Eugenie helped Leonora to restructure her CV, and kept her in touch with suitable job opportunities via email or text, but as well as the practical support Leonora reflects on the quality of the relationship, “I really appreciated her willingness to help, her nonstop support and her constant reassurance that I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it … I stay in touch with Eugenie as her continuous support still helps if I hit a low patch and I’ve also been able to share my success with Eugenie after all her encouragement and hard work paid off”.
After they join-up, the Jobshop Community Outreach Project takes all of its candidates through a programme of employability skills and confidence building, if needed a range of other specialist support can also be organised.
Once she had completed the Jobshop Community Outreach Project Leonora found part time work:
“My proudest moment was when I started to work part time and, to add the icing on the cake, I started my own business while continuing to work in a local supermarket.”
Leonora’s business, Happy Hayes, is a small online boutique creating unique hand-crafted items and accessories made from vintage, up-cycled and locally sourced fabrics. The enterprise aims to be as green as possible keeping a very low carbon footprint. Happy Hayes was shortlisted for a “Green Business Award” at the Barking & Dagenham Business Awards 2014
Unfortunately for Leonora her part-time employment at the supermarket ended when all temporary staff contracts were cancelled, but she continued to grow her own business and again with Eugenie’s help and contacts found new job as a Midday Assistant in her children’s Primary School. Leonora says “It’s a miracle, Eugenie has been my guardian angel working with me, sometimes when I am about to give up I get an unexpected phone call from her which I truly appreciate and I am very grateful from the bottom of my heart”.
In a tough employment climate Leonora has been supported by the Jobshop Outreach project not only in terms of Employability skills and training, but also the constant reassurance and encouragement – providing support when it was needed.
Leonora said: “The Jobshop Community Outreach Project is a fantastic service for those seeking help with employment. A very supportive project with an excellent member of staff, providing a brilliant service at a time when things are uncertain (such as being made newly redundant). Eugenie provided not only a service to help seek employment but always went out of her way to boost my self esteem and confidence, and by finding work for someone who had not had an interview for many years. Eugenie is a great morale booster and did a brilliant job keeping in touch even when I secured employment and set up my own business. I believe that without her I wouldn’t have been able to achieve all”.
Like many of her clients Eugenie is delighted to see Leonora succeed and move on after a setback she says “I am so proud of Leonora, seeing her flourish and succeed, being able to share her success and to know that she has been shortlisted for a ‘Green Business’ Award for her own enterprise.”
Leonora has this week been awarded gift tokens by Community Links Director of Employment and Training, Jonny Boux (pictured above) to celebrate her “success of the month” Leonora’s story is one of many successes that the Community Links Employment and Training team deliver every day. Community Links’ nationally recognised support services operate across east London helping people find and keep jobs. In the last year, we supported over 3,000 unemployed people – over one third went on to find sustainable jobs, many more have gone onto further training and voluntary work.
Our employment and training projects support a whole range of people – some are for specific groups, like young people, single parents or older people with health issues, whilst others are open to anyone – they all share the same approach:
- We think about the individual – we design our support precisely for each person we work with and offer that person one-to-one support
- We plan for the long-term – it’s not just about helping people get into work but also helping them stay there
- We take a ground-up approach – our services are shaped with service user and employers. As an organisation with a range of projects and programmes we can find, assess and allocate just the right support – no matter what a person’s barriers to work might be.
- Our Deep Value relationships meet individual’s specific needs. By looking at all aspects of their lives, having an eye on long-term ambitions and goals we can provide sustainable support.
Find out more about our Employment, Training and Enterprise projects:
Download our publication “Think Future. Think Work”