Justina came to GRoW in July 2018 and has recently found work at a local Nursery as a Cleaner.
Justina said “When I first came to GRoW I was not in a good place, my daughter and I were living in temporary accommodation and I had no idea how to go about getting any help. I felt so frustrated and distressed but Liz from GRoW took me in, calmed me down and told me everything would be fine. It was such a relief to have some support.
Liz encouraged me to work on improving my situation and she gave me so much help, even writing to an MP in Hayes to help me with my housing situation. The Council moved me and I got involved with everything GRoW had to offer – I attended the Coffee Mornings and all the programmes which gave me information on things like claiming benefits I was entitled to. There were seminars on topics like how to work in schools and Liz helped to improve my CV which I hadn’t realised was so rubbish until she helped me write a new one! Liz walked and talked me through every step to make sure I did it properly.
I applied for quite a few jobs but with my daughter being so young it was difficult to find a job that would fit around her. I used to see all the cars in my area disappear every morning with people going off to work and I would sit at home and feel so lazy, like I should be out working, even my daughter would tell me I should get a job so I wasn’t just home all day.
One morning I decided enough was enough. I googled all the schools in my area and I got on the phone to ring them all up. I started with my daughter’s school, offering to volunteer but because of the COVID restrictions they couldn’t offer me anything. I rang the next school that was closest to me and told them I was available to do absolutely anything they needed. They told me that their Cleaner had just left and would I be interested? I jumped at the chance and following a face to face meeting I started the job the following week. I am working 10 hours a week now and I just love it. The staff are so friendly and nice and I feel like a new person.
The school is only 10 minutes from my home and from next year I would be looking for my daughter to attend the Reception there. This would give me the opportunity to increase my hours and maybe look at doing other roles within the school too. As the job is term time only it fits around my daughter which is perfect.
I will still keep in touch with my GRoW adviser and keep looking at the jobs they send me to see if there is other work I can do in addition to my cleaning job. I have applied for jobs from the GRoW jobs bulletin before and did start working at a college in Uxbridge for people with learning disabilities earlier this year but the next week lockdown happened. I really enjoyed the job, they have called me since they reopened but I have told them I have another job now. I could potentially go back to them in the future though if I can do both jobs. I feel so much more positive now about the future and am so happy to be doing something better with my time.