Nine months ago Angela was jobless, homeless, and recovering from a major operation. Mentally – and physically – she was struggling. With support from Ingeus, the former pub landlady called last orders on her unemployment and set out on a new career in retail.
Angela, 66, lost her job of nearly 40 years last September and, with her home attached to the pub, she lost that too. Moving back to Bury from Manchester soon afterwards, she spent three months sofa surfing with family.
During that time she was referred by her local Jobcentre Plus to Keyworkers Sara and Paula in the Ingeus Working Well (Work and Health Programme) team in Greater Manchester. The programme, commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, provides tailored support to individuals with disabilities and health conditions who are seeking employment.
Angela recalls, “I was in a terrible state when I was referred to Sara and Paula. I had nothing – nowhere to live and no job. I was looking for jobs but getting nowhere, and I thought it was because of my age. I was sleeping on my nephew’s sofa, but felt in the way. I was crying myself to sleep at night.”
Unable to work in her pub following her operation in February 2022, the temporary cover work Angela had in place didn’t work out, and she was faced with mounting debt, eventually leading to the pub’s closure.
With no income, savings or home, she made the decision to move back to her previous home town of Bury.
“I wasn’t due to retire until February 2023, so I wasn’t able to access my pension,” explains Angela. “Sara and Paula were brilliant in organising financial help for me while I was looking, and when I first started my new job.”
While supporting Angela in finding accommodation, Sara and Paula guided her towards foodbanks and provided assistance with travel costs.
Alongside the financial support, Sara and Paula were also helping Angela find employment. Sara worked on assessing Angela’s transferrable skills and updating her CV, as well as encouraging her to attend interviews.
Securing a job in retail in December, Angela – who was awarded employee of the month in April – couldn’t be happier.
“It’s just 20 hours a week,” she says, “which suits me perfectly. I’m classed as a pensioner now, but I don’t feel I’m ready to do nothing.
“I was very sceptical when I first joined the Work and Health Programme, but within a month everything was falling into place. Sara and Paula really looked after me – they were my little angels.”