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Building Better Opportunities is a game changer for Beth

When Beth Ward moved to Chatteris from March in 2016, her confidence plummeted and she couldn’t leave the house without a family member. She would stay in bed until 12pm every day, and she couldn’t foresee a future in which she felt brave enough to find a job.



But all that has changed thanks to a National Lottery-funded enterprise programme, which has given her the skills and strength of character she needed to forge a successful future.

The 22-year-old, who has a mild learning disability, explained: “My mum had gone away to Cornwall, and I moved to Chatteris with my dad and my brother to start a new life. But because I didn’t know the area very well, I lost a lot of confidence.

“I used to get really nervous every time I went out, and felt like I had to look over my shoulder all the time. So I always had to have someone with me wherever I went, and I had nothing to get out of bed for. I’d finished a college course in animal care in 2015, but I didn’t feel like I could get a job because of my issues.”

Beth’s world changed when she went along to the Ramsey Ravens Archery Club with her brother Thomas, where she met club organiser Helen Curtis-Bridges. Helen’s day job is as a project worker for FACET, a charity providing training to adults with disabilities in the Fenland area. Helen signed Beth up to the Building Better Opportunities project, which is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

Beth said: “I went to FACET every Friday for a year. There were four other people in my group, and we talked about what we wanted to achieve. My goal was to get a job and build up my confidence. I was quite shy and nervous when I first started, and I didn’t want to sit in the dinner hall with everyone else at lunchtime, but I made lots of new friends in the end.”

The Building Better Opportunities project, managed by training and skills provider The Consultancy Home Counties Ltd (TCHC), also included travel training, using IT, researching the jobs market and completing a CV. All of this hard work went towards a Gateway to Enterprise qualification.

Helen, who supported Beth alongside her colleague Richard Carrier, said: “Beth gained the self-confidence she needed to change her mindset, and accept that she could be independent. With support around filling in application forms and providing mock interviews, Beth was successful in gaining employment with Tesco as a festive colleague over Christmas, and has just secured a permanent part-time job at Morrison’s.”

Beth added: “FACET were amazing, I can’t fault them. The programme helped me see I could do more than I realised. It had a big impact on my life as it helped me get back out and active again, and I feel fine when I go out on my own now. I’m really looking forward to getting back into work at Morrison’s.”

TCHC Chairman Dale Morgan said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Beth has had such a positive experience on the Building Better Opportunities programme, and we hope she will go on to achieve all her ambitions in the future.”

For more information about TCHC, visit www.tchc.net or call 01923 698430.