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Sandra's story: "Good all-family support"

Pluss Positive People - West Yorkshire Self employment 11 February 2022

With five offspring of her own, Sandra considered herself pretty much experienced in looking after children, so when she considered her future, a role as a self-employed child-minder was the first thing to take her fancy.

But where to begin?

She relied on her own family to help with her daily routine, but she wanted to find a way to access the training needed to get a step closer to her aspirations. Sandra contacted Hopeful Families; a Pluss employability provision.

Sandra joined the Hopeful Families programme in June 2019. Hopeful Families provides support for people who are not at work and have a range of barriers holding them back.

Each person is assigned a family mentor who will talk to them to learn more about their circumstances and put measures in place to tackle any barrier that is holding them back from moving on in their life.

Sandra has great organisational skills and showed loads of motivation. During her time on the programme, she managed to take part in lots of meaningful activities like foot-golf, school holiday activities, visiting the theatre etc. All of which allowed her to have quality family time whilst connecting with the community.

Hopeful Families helped Sandra identify some of the areas that required support, information, and guidance. She had some debts outstanding for council tax and was also assessed for dyslexia – which meant online training was a particular challenge.

She was relying heavily on benefits so Hopeful Families helped her apply for a bus pass and devised a healthy eating plan – even sourcing a pizza-making kit so the children could get involved too!

Pizza making

“This was good, all-family support,” she says. “My kids were involved and enjoyed quality time.”

Helped by the programme, Sandra enrolled on a course to progress her studies. She was given 1-1 mentoring but found her dyslexia was holding her back and made learning a challenge.

Hopeful Families negotiated with the relevant parties and secured an alternative route to learn. They also helped apply for a grant to cover the costs.

Oh, and did we mention that through all this Sandra was home-schooling her five children?

Sandra worked from home, helped with the supply of some digital technology. She kept in regular contact with her mentor and has managed to take, and pass, several relevant courses to obtain certificates and now, after a review of her circumstances, she’s decided to change direction slightly.

School sign

The Hopeful Families initiative has guided me and opened communications and various links to help my progression

Sandra Hopeful Families participant

While she remains intent on completing all the training to become a child-minder, Sandra has decided her work-life balance will improve if she looks for a part-time role in a school.

“I have my name on a waiting list for volunteer work in several local schools and I am looking at roles that would help increase my knowledge and experience,” she says.

Sandra is now well on her way to achieving her goal; her DBS application is in progress, and she has completed compliance training. Even her future business plan has been drafted out with help from Hopeful Families and some of its partners.

“The Hopeful Families programme helped in all areas and was a big support,” she says.

We all wish Sandra the best of luck in the future.

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