New Leaf – it works!
That’s the view of Heidi Bell, a former New Leaf customer who has now moved into paid employment thanks to the programme.
Heidi first contacted New Leaf for support in a number of areas in her life – and was able to access training courses, volunteering opportunities and wellbeing advice.
And now Heidi is putting her experience to good use after joining us as a New Leaf Community Energiser. Heidi will be responsible for helping people access job opportunities, gain qualifications and increase their confidence.
“It’s a lovely team and everyone has helped me settle in,” Heidi said
“My first week has been about learning. I have been out with various mentors and meeting the people who need out support. I have also visited various community hubs to see if the New Leaf programme can benefit them in anyway. One of my main focuses going forward will be supporting our rural communities and making sure we can reach as many people as possible.
“Since day one, I have been made to feel welcome so transitioning from being a customer to working for New Leaf has been very easy. “
Heidi first contacted New Leaf in 2016 as a customer looking for support. Heidi’s long-term ambition was to go in to teaching, and the programme was able to help.
She added: “New Leaf seemed like the right fit for me. I was given a mentor who was on hand to offer me advice in a number of areas. My ultimate ambition is to go into teaching so New Leaf organised for me to attend a 10-week course centred on education.
“It also led me to volunteering at Motherwell Cheshire – which aims to offer support to mothers across the region. I ran courses to support women who were struggling with anxiety and their mental health.
“The staff here at Weaver Vale spoke to me about some work opportunities that were coming up with New Leaf and encouraged me to apply for a job. I’m so glad I did because I absolutely love it. I’m getting out and about, meeting people and finding out what their needs are.”
And having now been on both sides of the programme, Heidi believes she is in the perfect position to sell the benefits of New Leaf.
“The programme has worked for me. I’ve gone through it all so I feel like I’m in a good place to help people who are in a similar position to me. I know it works, so when I talk to people I can be honest with them about the service. It really does support you in a number of areas, whether it’s work, financial or wellbeing. Trying to get back into work can be a very frustrating and disheartening experience for some, but everyone here treats you with empathy.”
Andrew Ashford, New Leaf Team Leader at Weaver Vale Housing Trust said: “Helping customers into work is a big part of our commitment to creating better communities and boosting people’s confidence.
“Heidi really embraced the programme and she was always willing to learn new skills. She was a pleasure to work with and we knew she would be a perfect fit for this role. Heidi understands what our customers are going through so she is in a great position to help them.”
About New Leaf
New Leaf brings together a diverse range of 30 partners from across Warrington and Cheshire, including local authorities, learning providers, charities, social landlords, disability support networks to change lives, create opportunities and make a positive contribution to the local communities and the regional economy.
The project spearheaded by Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) has received £10.6 million of funding from the Building Better Opportunities programme, a key part of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) European Funding Programme.
To find out more about the New Lead programme, visit http://newleafcheshire.co.uk/