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Charlotte’s story: a new beginning

Pluss Positive People Positive People - West Yorkshire 29 July 2021

Charlotte* is in her early thirties and lives in the Huddersfield area. She is a single mum of two daughters and lives close to her family. Largely because of a turbulent home life as a child, Charlotte missed chunks of school and due to behaviour problems, left mainstream school at age 10. She did not sit her GCSEs. Unfortunately, this led to barriers that would hold Charlotte back later in her life.

When Charlotte joined the Pluss Hopeful Families programme around 12 months ago, her aim was to attain some suitable qualifications and improve her employability skills, such as job search, CV writing and interview techniques. These would give Charlotte a helping hand to securing paid employment.

Initially she completed a maths and English course and volunteered at the Forget-Me-Not trust charity shop, to gain some useful retail experience. This was followed by a temporary role with Next over the Christmas period.

One of the challenges Charlotte has had to face is her relationship with cannabis, having been a user from her teenage years, up to the birth of her youngest daughter. Charlotte attended a rehabilitation programme and has not used the substance now for over two years. Charlotte went on to train as a peer mentor and once Covid-19 restrictions are fully lifted, she would like to do some voluntary work with them.

Charlotte originally came onto the Hopeful Families programme to attend the Introduction to Teaching Assistant course, at Brian Jackson House, which is part of the Yorkshire Children’s Centre, in February 2020. However, this was not meant to be.  The lockdown restrictions, prevented Charlotte from starting the course.

The lockdown period was a challenging period, being unable to proceed with her plans. During this time, Charlotte had regular contact from her family mentor, Angela.

Charlotte commented: “Angela phoned me regularly to keep me motivated and she even sent activity materials for my children, to keep them entertained while in lockdown. I’m so grateful for this.”

Eventually Hopeful Families arranged for Charlotte to complete a level two food hygiene course. She also undertook an employability workshop course via Zoom, which involved creating a new CV, covering letter and taking part in a mock interview.

In February this year (2021) Charlotte had an interview for a school lunchtime assistant and as a result was successful and was offered a role as a bank catering assistant.

Charlotte added: “It wouldn’t have been possible to have even applied for the job if Angela hadn’t encouraged me to do the food hygiene course and the employability workshop.

“I’m looking forward to being able to save up for day trips and treats for my daughters during the summer. I’m much happier now and my confidence has grown and even my girls are better behaved too!”

Charlotte would one day like to become a substance misuse support worker, to use her experiences to help others. She would also like to take driving lessons and buy a car.

Everyone involved with the Pluss Hopeful Families programme wish Charlotte and her young family all the very best for the future.

*Charlotte is not her real name.