Kat looks forward to a brighter future
15 Feb 2022
Jobless and pregnant, Kat Griffiths was sofa-surfing with friends after leaving her rented home due to financial struggles. The 34-year-old from Radcliffe, near Bury, could not see a way through her money problems and was not in a good place. Now, thanks to the Restart Scheme
delivered by Ingeus, Kat is looking forward to a much brighter future.
The Government set up the Restart Scheme to provide tailored support to help people get back to work after the pandemic. After being referred to the scheme by Radcliffe Jobcentre Plus, Kat was put in touch with Ingeus Restart Adviser Gail Coupe in Bury. The pair forged such a strong relationship that Kat now jokes that Gail is her “adoptive mother”.
“When I went in, I had no confidence whatsoever and I had nowhere to live,” says Kat, who had been unemployed for more than three years. “Gail had time to listen to me and really understand. I could call Gail any time even without an appointment and she was always happy to help if I was feeling down. She improved my CV and helped me with interview techniques, and my confidence improved as I went on.”
Kat received additional support from Ingeus Finance Adviser Alec Warburton, who began looking at how she could clear her rent arrears. He set up a payment plan for Kat and encouraged her to apply for Healthy Start vouchers as she is pregnant. Kat, who also has a 17-year-old son, had not realised that she was entitled to the vouchers. “Alec was a massive help, nothing was too much trouble for him,” she says.
A former care worker, Kat had developed an interest in retail after volunteering at a charity shop in Bolton, where she was trained to a managerial position. With Gail’s support, she began looking for part-time retail jobs in Bury. After Kat spotted a retail job advertised online, she decided to apply. She was offered an interview, which was a success, and started her new job as a sales assistant at a store in Bury in December.
Kat says: “I’m mainly on the tills at the moment because I’m pregnant. I have a good relationship with my boss and the people I work with. I absolutely love it!” On another happy note, Kat is no longer homeless and has moved in with her mother. A stable home life, a job she loves and a new bundle of joy on the way – things are looking up for Kat. She says: “2022 is going to be a good year for me. I still speak to Gail on a regular basis and she keeps saying, ‘This is going to be your year, Kat!’” Would Kat encourage others to go on the Restart Scheme? “They should definitely go, it changed my life,” she enthuses. “I’ve got all my confidence back.”
Commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, Ingeus is delivering the Restart Scheme in Greater Manchester and Central and West London and is partner to Serco, which is delivering the scheme in Central West Midlands.