Back to Work : Laura’s Story

July 24, 2015
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Laura Wood, from St Ives, was the only female to take part in the Active Plus Local project in Penzance. Suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder she was referred onto the course by Jobcentre Plus.

Active Plus Local was funded through the Jobcentre Plus Flexible Support Fund and led by Active Plus in partnership with Rebuild South West. It supported people who had health-related barriers to getting back to work and combined teamwork, communication and job search skills with community-based work activity. It was led by our military veterans, many of whom also suffer PTSD.

“It has given me a new outlook on life, I feel happier, more confident and most importantly, I have belief in my own ability”

The two-week intensive course that Laura took place at the John Daniel Centre in Penzance. Work at the centre included painting and decorating, gardening and development and refurbishment of outside buildings.When she finished the course Laura felt confident enough to apply for a job as a school lab technician and was delighted to get it.

Laura said, “I really enjoyed it. Just before Christmas 2013, I had suffered from a breakdown. The doctor diagnosed me with PTSD, and I had been signed off from work since.  A very helpful lady at the Jobcentre told me about Active Plus Local and asked if I would like to go along. It was the end of September and I had been out of work for almost a year, not leaving the house unless I really had too, so I thought it was time I pushed myself and tried something new to see how I got on.

“I was very nervous when I arrived, as I was the only female in the group, but the guys at Active Plus instantly made me feel at ease. Each day that passed, I could feel that I was coming out of my shell, my anxiety levels were dropping I was chatting more and felt more confident. I have made some great new friends and have learnt some handy new skills.

“At the end of the two weeks, we had a presentation where everyone from the care centre came to watch us receive our certificates, and one of the people who uses the centre, thanked us for all the hard work we had done.  I think I can speak on behalf of all my team mates, that, that was the proudest we had felt about ourselves in a very long time, and we were all genuinely sad that our time there together had come to an end. I can’t express enough how grateful I am to all the guys at Active Plus.

Rebuild South West aims to renovate some of the thousands of run down, empty properties in Cornwall whilst training the ex-service community and young people who are out of work. It was set up by Craig Little, himself a military veteran, whose ideas were supported by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) Cornwall, which was originally set up with European Social Fund Convergence investment, co-financed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).