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Christopher’s story: “I feel that I’m back in control of my life”

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Like many people, Christopher found himself out of work as a consequence of Covid-19. As an electrician, work dried up due to lockdowns and being unable to safely enter premises. He felt lost, with no obvious direction to follow and the slowly mounting debts were causing stress and worry.

Background

Christopher is 28 years old and lives in the Wakefield area. He joined the Pluss Hopeful Families programme through an organisation called Groundwork. Hopeful Families is a community programme run by Pluss and a team of five West Yorkshire voluntary and community partners. Groundwork is one of those partners, who support people through family mentors, offering one-to-one session with individuals or families, to help improve their situation and to encourage a more positive future.

The growing debts, lockdowns and the pressures of home tutoring his children was having an adverse effect on his mental well-being. His appointed family mentor, Debbie, sat down with Christopher to identify the barriers holding him back and then a plan was drawn up address these obstacles and to re-build his confidence and get things back on track.

Support

“The first thing I was helped with was getting me to face my debts. I was given advice and support from Money Smart and I set up a regular payment schedule. I took a good look at how I managed money and with budgeting it made all the difference to me and I found myself able to relax as I felt the pressure lift.

“Debbie was brilliant. With her support and positivity, not to mention her belief in me, I started to make progress from feeling lost and not knowing where to turn. Through discussions with Debbie I recognised being a qualified electrician was a valuable skill, so I decided to return to this sector, but as a sole trader, with my own business.

“Over the following few months a plan was developed and on the 9th of March this year (2021), my own business began. There were a few bumps along the way, but with my new found confidence and support from Debbie, I remained positive and determined to succeed.”

Help from Hopeful Families

Working with his family mentor at Groundwork has made a significant difference to Christopher’s life.

“I feel that I’m back in control of my life and feel proud of myself, having learnt how to deal with setbacks. Knowing Debbie was there was so important. She really has gone the extra mile many times, even with Christmas presents for the children. The icing on the cake was being given an iPad which I needed to produce electrical certificates. It really did help to get my business well and truly up and running.”

Looking ahead to the future

“I’ve my own business now and I’m looking forward to building my business, but not only that, I am keen to take time to spend with my family and strike that ‘work-life balance’ which previously I’d lost. During the period of not working, it made me realise just how much I didn’t know my own family. It made me reflect and now I’m back working again, I’ll be making sure I do spend time with my family and being part of everyday family life.”

If you think support from Hopeful Families could benefit you or someone you know, please call 0800 334 5525 or email info@positive-people.org.uk.

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