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Michelle, from Lutterworth, has followed her dreams, goals and ambitions since becoming a part of the Work Live Leicestershire (WiLL) project. Here is her story: -

"My name is Michelle, I'm a Lifestyle and Fitness Coach. I am many things but, most importantly, I'm a single parent to three amazing boys. I joined the BBO (Building Better Opportunities) WiLL Project to access support that would enable me to become self-employed and find part-time employment.

"I am very passionate about helping others, especially families affected by abuse and those who are struggling with their mental health. I want to use my personal and professional experiences and training to make a difference to the lives of others by starting a social enterprise. I want to offer a holistic service to families that will include health and wellbeing, fitness, coaching, pet therapy and counselling. However, I needed some assistance as I had no idea how to go about doing this.

"CASE (Co-operative & Social Enterprise) were amazing, and supported me to start exploring my business ideas. During this process, my personal circumstances changed and we had to move home. The loss of our permanent home, friends, support network and the change in schools impacted on us as a family greatly. The pandemic increased my anxiety and isolation.

"I was referred to the WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) to assist me in developing the skills to achieve my dreams. I am normally a self-motivated individual, but recent experiences, including a relationship breakdown, had affected my mental wellbeing and self-confidence. I had to consider my own mental health and well-being, while also revaluating my plans.

"I agreed to have a meeting with Rehana, the Development Worker at the WEA, and I was able to create a plan that prioritised my needs. The plan included maintaining my mental wellbeing, building my confidence, acquiring skills and knowledge to increase my employability skills and become financially independent.

"The course I attended, through the WEA, were: How to Sell a Product Online, Staying Positive in Uncertain Times, Mental Wellbeing and Handling , Interview Success – Stand Out from the Crowd, Presentation Skills and Public Speaking and Make Your CV Stand Out.

"I had not worked for some time, due to caring for my sons, hence I did not have an up-to-date CV. I attended a CV workshop and with the support of Sumeya, my tutor, I managed to improve and update my CV.

"The courses and the meetings with the Rehana have helped me to both increase my confidence and self-esteem. I have started to apply for jobs and I’m pleased to share that I have now found a part-time job working in a primary school.

"This very conveniently fits well around both my parenting responsibilities and study commitments, where I still have the time to pursue my dream of setting up a social enterprise. Through this, I hope to be able to make a difference to the lives of those affected by abuse and-or who are struggling with mental health difficulties.”