A mum of three from Darwen is looking forward to starting a new job as a key worker after her landlord helped her follow in her mum’s footsteps.
When Demie Ashley, 27, moved into a Together Housing Group property in December, she had been a full-time mum for the last eight years. Recognising her ambition to be recognised as something other than a mum, her housing officer referred her to More Positive Together.
Funded by the European Social Fund, More Positive Together is designed to help Lancashire residents who are furthest from the employment market lead active lives and improve their employment prospects.
Demie was allocated a Community Employment Advisor from Newground Together, the charitable arm of Together Housing Group and a key More Positive Together partner.
She said: “For the last eight years I’ve just been seen as a mum and I wanted something more. I needed a sense of self and wanted my independence.
“I’ve always wanted to be a support worker of some kind, either working with people with mental health problems or children. It’s always been in the family, my mum was a care worker.
“I suffer from anxiety and am grateful to those who have helped me so now I want to give something back.”
Demie’s Employment Advisor Helen said: “Demie was really keen to get back into work but lacked confidence and felt her anxiety was holding her back, as well as lack of access to childcare and transport because she doesn’t drive.
“To help her overcome her anxiety, I recommended that she face it head on by exposing herself to a scenario where she can’t control things. We decided to try part–time, temporary work to start with to see how she managed the extra stress and juggling the childcare.
“Covid-19 had exacerbated her anxiety, causing her to clean up to 10 times a day, so we decided to put her obsession for good hygiene into good use to apply for a cleaning role.”
After Helen helped her create a CV and went through the application process to apply, Demie secured a role as a cleaner in a health centre.
“The role suited me because the hours were early in the morning so I didn’t have to mix with anybody,” said Demie. “I started to realise that I could be something other than a mum and as my confidence grew, I started talking to people more and found myself enjoying adult conversations.”
Helen kept in touch with Demie and when she could see her anxiety easing and her confidence growing, she asked if she wanted to take the next step and look for more hours in a permanent post.
“Demie told me she wanted a career not a job and how she wanted more for her family,” said Helen. “I was so pleased to hear this and encouraged her to pursue her dream of working in the care industry. I helped her complete some applications and she was so excited. She was looking forward and realising her potential after years of being out of work at home with children.
“When she found out she had an interview, she was really nervous but I went through interview techniques with her and helped her dice what to wear. She smashed the interview and they offered her the job there and then!”
Demie said: “I can’t wait to start my new role as care assistant, which is heading in the right direction towards where I want to be. As the care home is only over the road from where I live, I can walk there so don’t have to worry about transport and can easily pop back home if there is a problem with the kids, which has really helped with my anxiety.”
She added: “Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am without Helen’s help. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
Helen said: “I couldn’t be more proud of her. I knew she could do this, she just need encouragement and support. This is what our job is all about, taking those small steps, to encourage someone to believe in themselves, take a chance and get a better life.”