Veronica's Story

Job Centre Plus referred Veronica to Moving On as she had been out of work for 15 months following a period of depression. Veronica felt that she needed a little extra support returning to employment. She was in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) meaning that she could work less than 16 hours per week due to her health, and continue to receive her benefit.

It was felt that Veronica would benefit from the services at Moving On where she could meet regularly with her appointed support worker to look for appropriate work placements and vacancies that would suit her health and circumstances.

Due to having acute anxiety, Veronica did not want to work in a busy environment nor did she feel confident operating tills and card machines. She was looking for a job in a small café or a quiet shop behind the scenes. She also wanted to see if it would be possible to explore employment that involved her love of horticulture and gardening.

After meeting a few times to get to know each other a little better, Veronica’s support worker arranged for an unpaid work placement in a small shop to see how she would get on in a small but public workspace. Veronica met the employer with her support worker before she started and a job description with specific tasks was established so that Veronica would know exactly what was expected of her, in order to ease her anxiety.

On her first day, there was a cruise liner visiting with many tourists aboard. The shop had its busiest day on record and Veronica felt very overwhelmed, deciding that same day that she could not continue. Veronica spoke to the employer and explained how she felt, the employer understood and tried to persuade her to try a second day to see how she got on but Veronica declined. Moving On liaised with both Veronica and the employer and it was decided that it would be best to try another, quieter workplace.

The following week, paid employment was secured with a local garden centre. Veronica was understandably nervous following her first experience returning to work. She was especially anxious as she would have to handle cash and use a card machine. Again, Moving On met with the employer and Veronica before she was due to start, to establish her job role, risk assessments and general housekeeping. Veronica was trained in how to use the card machine and the pricing system in the shop. She went for her first day, really enjoyed it, and has continued to go back every week, two mornings a week for the past few months.

Veronica is seen fortnightly to make sure that she is comfortable and her employer is contacted at regular intervals to make sure that they are happy with Veronica’s work. There have been no issues to date and Veronica states that her confidence is growing by the week and that she is starting to feel like she may be able to take on a few more hours. Veronica has said that this employment opportunity has better prepared her to start applying for part-time positions elsewhere.

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