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Lee’s story: “Being with Hopeful Families has given me the self-belief to find employment”

Pluss Positive People - West Yorkshire 25 January 2023

This is the story about a man who had been a long-term carer for his dad, with the dream of becoming a barber.

Lee is in his late forties and lives in the Wakefield area. He was not in work and was only receiving basic Universal Credit, although he was the main carer for his father. Lee had some debt issues too.

After hearing about Hopeful Families, Lee got in touch with Groundwork, a Hopeful Families partner, to see what support they could offer.

His long-term aim was to have his own business . He wanted support to complete a level three accredited qualification in barbering. His ‘progression coach’ from Groundwork, Erika, met with Lee to understand his circumstances and to identify what sort of support would be beneficial for Lee.

At that time he was undertaking a level two barbering course at a local training centre. Unfortunately he felt he wasn’t making good progress due to a lack of tutors, nor was he able to practise on actual people. Lee found an independent training provider, Sarah Heeley, at Belle Hair and Beauty Academy. Erika made contact and arranged for Lee to begin an Advanced Barbering Diploma with them. He hasn’t looked back since.

Through Hopeful Families, Lee has been supported with food parcels and his travel reimbursed to enable him to travel to training courses and review meetings with Erika, something he would have been unable to do otherwise.

Erika referred Lee to Step-Up, (Wakefield Council’s employment and skills service), as well as to WDH, (social housing provider). Lee was also given advice and guidance on managing money and smart budgeting. This really helped Lee to manage his outgoings until he secured paid employment. He also completed a CSCS course and a digital skills course, which would help Lee on his way to employment.

“From my first meeting with Hopeful Families, they made me feel like I was worth something. They invested time in me, listened to me and supported me, so I was able to complete my barbering qualification.

Lee concluded: “If it wasn’t for the support from Hopeful Families, I’d still be cutting dolls hair at the other training place, doubting my abilities and future as a barber. I have achieved above and beyond what I thought I could do. I’m very proud of my achievements. I don’t know where I’d be without the help of Hopeful Families.”



Pluss delivers the Hopeful Families programme with the support of four partners, Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Halifax Opportunities Trust, Groundwork and Dominion Training. It is part of the national, Building Better Opportunities programme, funded by the National Lottery’s Community Fund and the European Social Fund.


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