Take 1 new PSW and 1 lockdown ……

….and you can still get some really positive outcomes!

Although our Peer Support Worker only started to work with HeadsUp about six weeks before the lockdown came into force, they managed to deal with the situation and all the problems that it caused very well, in some cases the participants already knew them from coming into the centre to see the previous PSW so this made the transition from one PSW to another quite smooth. They successfully signed up 4 new people over the telephone during the initial lockdown period and some participants have still managed to progress from the project into new jobs, job searching or a training course – all such great outcomes especially considering the circumstances!

But it was also a time when additional help not normally offered by PSW’s came into play, for example one of their participants had to shield which of course made getting shopping and medication very difficult. Our PSW spent time on the phone getting food and medication deliveries arranged which was a great comfort to him, and our PSW felt reassured that their participants needs were catered for during this period.

In early September our PSW started to see participants face to face which was really well received by ‘old’ and new participants alike. They’d all really appreciated contact being maintained (via phone or E-mail) during the LONG six months we initially could not see participants face to face, in fact in some cases it was like speaking to a friend rather than a participant.

And so the situation has changed several times again since, but our participants are reassured by the fact that our PSW’s both longstanding and new, are their for them throughout every lockdown.

New Year New Goals

Christmas and the new year were hard for many, Covid meant that our festive season looked very different and to some felt lonely. But now that 2021 is here it’s time if you can, to look onwards and upwards and try to focus on the future.

Now is a better time than ever to start making some updates to your CV or have a think about doing a course to help you to stand out in the employment market (there are more free online course options than ever right now).

The job market is always quiet just before Christmas however jobs will slowly start coming online as companies recruit for the new year and you could also think about taking advantage of the employment opportunities relating to the National Census and the NHS recruitment campaign to support the rollout of the Covid vaccine. Some sectors are still quiet due to the pandemic and sadly many people have found themselves made redundant, maybe 2021 is the year to think about and get some advice on, re-training or changing career paths?

Take time to think what you would like to achieve this year and talk to one of the team about how they may be able to support you (or someone you know) with some of your goals, such as CV updates, job sector advice and getting your wellbeing back on track. We are always happy to help where we can!

Success despite lockdown!

We’ve abided by the Christmas restrictions, cancelled the New Year’s Eve parties, waved at friends or relatives from a safe distance (if we’ve been lucky enough to see them at all) and eaten our body weight in “Christmas treats”. But it’s ok, 2020 is over and 2021 is going to be so much better……. Oh.

So here we are again, in another national lockdown. Although, at least there is hope on the horizon in the form of vaccines. We’ve been living through lockdowns and restrictions for 10 months now, and it’s hard. However, it is still possible to make progress towards our goals, despite all the restrictions. The steps we take might only be small, and there may well be a few unexpected detours along the way. But we can still get there.

Just after lockdown started (the first one) a new participant signed up to HeadsUp. She’d only just moved into the area, didn’t know anyone and was struggling with anxiety. However, she was determined to make progress towards her dream – starting her own upcycling and restoration business.

She already had experience in woodworking but knew there were certain skills that she needed to learn. We started looking at courses (most of which were practical and therefore not running) and discussed how she could gain some experience – through contacting other upcyclers, spending time with them, asking for work experience, volunteering and networking. We soon realised that most of these things wouldn’t be possible due to Covid-19, but I could hear her confidence growing when she talked about getting in touch with small businesses and chatting with them, with a view to meeting up once it was safe.

Ultimately, with my help, this participant was able to find and arrange a one-to-one workshop (when it was safe to do so) , and sign up to an online digital marketing & social media course. So, she would have the skills to start her business and build a network of contacts whilst she waited for the world to figure out what exactly “new normal” would look like.

But her confidence didn’t grow in just the one area. I frequently spoke to her and she’d tell me about problems or challenges that she’d dealt with and overcome with little anxiety compared to before she joined HeadsUp. This participant was determined to make the best of the situation and use her time to learn and grow. I’m so proud of everything that she achieved during her time with me – and I never even got to meet her!