Lindsey from London once had nowhere to call home but has recently found a new job and financial security, thanks to help from Ingeus.
Her mental health problems have affected her life; even causing her to quit university two weeks after starting.
“I had to leave – I had a mental health crisis and ended up unable to pay my rent, I was couch hopping for two years,” she remembered. “I switched into survival mode, I wasn't making plans for the future just living day to day. It felt a bit like being on a melting iceberg in the middle of the ocean.”
Lindsey, now aged 26, eventually found a job and moved into her own home, working in office roles for six years. But contracts dried up and she found herself unemployed again for six months.
“Being unemployed exacerbated my mental health issues,” she said. “The lack of structure to the days, the financial burden and the anxiety of trying to find a job took its toll.
“I knew how bad things had got before so I was worried I would drop straight back there again even though I'm a different person now, it's a spiral of doubt.”
Lindsey was referred by Jobcentre Plus staff to Harriet Strauss at Ingeus and the CLW WHP JETS programme. Central London Works, Work and Health Programme Job Entry Targeted Support (CLW WHP JETS) gives targeted employment support to Central London residents affected by the pandemic. A combination of one-to-one support and online resources give unemployed people practical help to get back to work quickly.
Lindsey was given advice, encouragement, and support including help with cover letters.
“Cover letters were a big concern for me, Harriet helped me finalise a version I felt confident with and helped me tweak it for the job I was applying for, which I got,” said Lindsey, whose new role is in events for a youth charity.
She also took part in interactive online workshops with Ingeus to teach her about job hunting. Best of all, she was given a laptop as her computer was too old to allow her to finish a training course.
“I can't stress how much of a relief and joy it was to be given a computer. Now I will be able to get qualifications and skills I know will help me in my chosen career,” added Lindsey.
Harriet has also provided emotional support, checking in with her often.
“It's just really nice having someone you can touch base with, she has been incredible, I can't thank her enough,” added Lindsey. “And I'm so relieved to be employed again, in a role I enjoy.”
Central London Works is delivered by Ingeus and commissioned by Central London Forward.