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Michael's story: "Hopeful Families were like a life-saver"

Pluss Positive People - West Yorkshire 02 March 2022

Michael’s dream is to take one of the most iconic American road trips and travel Route 66! But first, the 48-year-old globetrotter’s priorities lie a little closer to home.

Following a short spell of unemployment, Michael was referred to Hopeful Families – and its BBO Groundwork initiative – to help and support him with some specialist training and medical support.

He was desperate to get back to work and to feel independent. The Covid pandemic meant jobs were limited, but there was a need for drivers – and driving is definitely something Michael enjoys.

Michael lives with a congenital foot disorder which has resulted in an amputation. His artificial limb can become painful if put under pressure, so he needed to be able to prove that he was fit to learn to drive.

He had been through the process before, but his certificates expired after five years, and the cost of retraining was out of reach.

The pandemic and lockdown created barriers too – and that, along with living off benefits due to financial hardship, caused him to feel stressed.

Above and beyond

Hopeful Families worked with Michael to set him back on a path to employment. They paid for his training course, helped him access a local foodbank and gave him guidance on creating his CV so that he was better equipped to apply for jobs.

They explored his circumstances and helped support him in his plans to tackle any barriers that stood in his way.

“The communication was great,” Michael enthuses, “and paying for my course was just like a lifesaver.”

Photo of Michael

Food parcels, travel costs, suitable shoes and clothes - everything! You’ve been totally helpful and have gone above and beyond!

Michael Hopeful Families participant

Michael has now secured full-time work with a local transport company which, he says, leaves him feeling uplifted and motivated.

Route 66 - Michael's dream destinationHis new employer is paying for more courses which will open further opportunities too.

“The great thing about Hopeful Families is that the support has always been there if and when  I needed it,” he says, “I knew that all I ever had to do was ask.”

Michael has also been fitted with a new prosthetic leg now which is much more comfortable for him.

Who knows what’s next on his journey? Could it possibly be a trip to the USA for that dream drive along Route 66?

We really hope so!

We’re here for you

Hopeful Families is a community programme run by Pluss and a team of five West Yorkshire voluntary and community partners.

It is jointly funded by National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund; the programme is designed to help individuals from the region’s most socially excluded families.

If you live in the Calderdale, Kirklees or Wakefield areas and are interested in finding out how the Hopeful Families programme can help you, call us on 07341 004 949 for a friendly, confidential chat, or email