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Nathan's story: With heartfelt thanks

Pluss Positive People - West Yorkshire 12 January 2022

Nathan had his heart set on a job in the construction industry. Unfortunately, his heart had other ideas!

He was born with a congenital heart problem which required surgery when he was just an infant, then – in his late teens – he suffered a cardiac arrest and had to have a pacemaker fitted.

A combination of health problems and the Covid pandemic resulted in Nathan finding himself out of work.

He was a labourer, but his heart specialist decided it was unsafe for him to continue in such a physically demanding role.

After consultation, it was decided that 25-year-old Nathan, from Wakefield, could look for a job as a digger driver which meant he could safely continue working in the industry he enjoyed.

“I wanted to secure a 10-tonne digger certification,” he says. But lockdown left him frustrated and feeling unsupported in his ideas.

“I heard about BBO Groundwork, part of the Hopeful Families programme, through social media. I saw posts on Facebook and had read some of the good news stories on the Pluss website.”

Negotiating the paperwork

Hopeful Families helped Nathan with the processes involved in getting trained and on the right course to employment. They recognised his drive and enthusiasm and helped him map out the best way to find a job.

“They helped me with all the form-filling and to feel much more organised and structured,” he says.

“I was put in contact with a specialist digger trainer, and they helped me do everything I needed to meet all the Health & Safety requirements.”

Soon, Nathan managed to get some unpaid work which allowed him to hone his skills and make him much more employable.


My optimism had grown, and I had almost 90 job applications on the go. Then I reached out to potential employers on Facebook and managed to secure meaningful work.

Nathan now works with CIVCON Civil Engineering.

“I’m increasing my skills using the new digger course accreditation – that Hopeful Families helped me achieve – and I’m no longer claiming benefits.

“This is a ‘boss’ job and I really appreciate all the practical support I was given,” he adds.

Nathan continues to work on his health and wellbeing.

He’s completed a course to help him stop smoking, he’s a member of a disability-friendly rugby team and he’s now hoping to be successful in securing a grant to help him register as self-employed.

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