Ritinder ‘Rita’ Mahal a resident of Great Glen in Harborough District, Leicestershire proudly boasts of her new role as a volunteer during the current Covid 19 pandemic and lockdown.
Rita who is in her 30’s came to know of the Work.Live.Leicestershire (WiLL) Programme after her mum passed on a WiLL leaflet that she had picked up in Harborough.
Rita had been economically inactive for a while and had previously been working with her father in his business. She admits that she was not in a good place, and experienced feelings of anxiety and depression.
Rita agreed to sign up to the WiLL Programme in October 2019 and was given tailored 1-2-1 support from WiLL Keyworker, Rebecca Lydon. Together they looked at Rita’s skills and prioritised goals for Rita to work towards.
Rita was eager to take up the many courses that are available on the WiLL Project via delivery partner, Workers Educational Association (WEA). “There was so much variety in the available courses from health and wellbeing, personal development, to digital skills. All delivered in a professional way. It gave me the valuable opportunity to meet people. I learned so much and gained a huge amount of confidence which I desperately needed”, states Rita.
During the Covid 19 lockdown, Rita effectively became a carer for elderly parents who were considered vulnerable and could not leave their home. “Having access to my Keyworker, Rebecca, who continued to maintain contact with me during this time, online and by telephone was a godsend. The WEA courses especially, delivered via Zoom, during lockdown allowed me to remain connected with the wider WiLL community, and feel less isolated,” states Rita.
Through her hard work, commitment, determination, and newfound confidence, Rita has felt confident enough to take up volunteering – supported by another WiLL delivery partner, Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL). This includes: a marketing and befriending volunteer role with Vista, the sight loss charity; a befriending volunteer role with the RAF Association as well as a volunteer role with an equine therapy centre which helps people with trauma and mental health issues.
Rita states: “Volunteering has given me such a sense of achievement. An opportunity to feel useful and to give back - something that I couldn’t have imagined being able to do a few months ago.”
Rita’s inspiring story does not end here. In August Rita raised a massive £563 for Vista by taking part in their fundraising campaign ‘Tour de Vista’. She cycled a fantastic 87 miles across Leicestershire to help raise funds for those experiencing sight loss.
For Rita, “It was so important for me to take part in this fundraising campaign. The pandemic has meant so many changes to our day to day living. The people I want to help not only have to adapt to these changes, but manage their sight loss as well.”
Rita managed to secure a bicycle through the app ‘Nextdoor’ and states:
“A lovely gentleman gave me the bicycle that belonged to his late wife, and when he found out that I needed it to raise funds for charity, he was so touched and said that his late wife would have been so happy that her bicycle was being used for such a good cause”.
Rita cannot speak highly enough about the support and help that she has received. She states:
“Being part of the WiLL programme has far exceeded the expectations that I had when I first signed up. I have grown and flourished in ways that I couldn’t have imagined,”
“I am so grateful to my Keyworker, Rebecca Lydon, for her valuable support in helping me achieve my goals. I am confident that I will be able to secure a job that I will love when the time is right.”
To find out if the WiLL Project can help you please contact www.workliveleicestershire.org.uk or call 0116 249 8828