Benita has been living in Manchester all her life and going through a difficult time. She has battled with an illness, Ulcerative Colitis, which is a chronic condition of the bowl she has suffered with for many years and on top of this she has diabetes which often comes with this illness, glaucoma and recently lost her partner from cancer.
Benita was claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and failed an assessment and was declared fit for work, 4 months after her partner passed away from cancer.
Benita says, “I felt angry, I thought why me and I felt let down by the system, but I’m appealing against the decision”. I was referred on to Job Seekers Allowance by the job centre and my advisor sent me to FAST at Community Point Resource Centre for basic computers and the work club for job search”.
Benita continues: “I hadn’t been in a learning environment for a long time, so when the Jobcentre suggested I go along to a centre, I was really nervous, especially because of my stress and anxiety that I had from my illness and trying to get over my depression through my loss.”
“I was referred to Mike an Employment Support Worker for FAST and he helped me build a CV and he placed me with a Peer Welfare Ambassador, Dave, who has supported me further throughout my time with FAST."
Benita goes on to say, “Dave has supported me to understand the computer and since then I have come on leaps and bounds. I have gained confidence and I’m now more relaxed, I can now log in and out myself. I’ve set up an e-mail account, learnt about security on-line and much more and I’ve also gained a certificate”.
“After this Dave put me on Google Digital Garage a more advanced computer course. I learnt about social media and I’m now in touch with friends and I’ve made new friends at the centre. It’s also stopped me focusing on my bereavement and I’ve also joined in the Focus Groups and I now feel I’m contributing to what goes on in the centre. I’m not feeling sorry for myself anymore and I’m not stuck in the house isolated.”