How Alison restarted her life, thanks to Dial West Cheshire and New Leaf

After moving back to Chester following her mother passing away and her marriage breaking down, Alison, a 39-year-old woman with learning difficulties, was struggling with her daily life.

Deciding to take control and turn over a new leaf, Alison joined Dial’s supported volunteering scheme. It was the ideal way to start building some structure back into her life and to help her cope with the changes going on around her.

Alison started volunteering in the café at Dial and, supported by the café manager, began to settle into the team and integrated very well. An important goal for Alison was for her to get into paid employment, which is when New Leaf was suggested to her.

New Leaf is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund and is here to help those furthest away from the job market.

While on the New Leaf programme, the team at Dial were able to look in detail at all areas of her life and at ways in which support could be provided to get Alison closer to her goal of employment. At the time Alison was in debt, required emotional support, needed to develop workplace skills and was craving more opportunities to help her improve her social life.

Alison with her certificate

Through New Leaf, Alison was able to attend a number of non-accredited courses, as well as Work Club, to improve her chances on the job market. One of Alison’s proudest achievements was getting her Level 1 Food Hygiene certificate and she went on to complete a WEA in Building Confidence and Assertiveness. With an updated CV, she is now in a great position to apply for jobs when she is ready.

Thanks to support from her mentor, Helen, she has broadened her horizons and takes part in activities, like singing groups and bread baking, and is even volunteering outside of New Leaf.

Alison is now completing an accredited Customer Service and will hopefully be applying for roles in customer service in the near future.

“Alison has been a delight to work with. She has happily and enthusiastically joined everything that has been suggested to her. This has helped her to move forward and gain skills ready to return to the workforce” Helen Barrie, Alison’s mentor.

Even when Alison has had anxious moments, she has always felt supported by her mentor and, since she has started on New Leaf, her confidence has grown.

If you, or someone you know is in a similar situation as Alison, why not get in touch with our New Leaf team and find out how we can help you.