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Kim, from Openshaw in Manchester can’t speak highly enough about the support that she’s had from the Complex Families Support team at The Work Company.  41 year old Kim said: “Without the help I’ve had from Tasha Glynn at The Work Company, I would have just walked away from everything.”

Before becoming involved with the Complex Families Support team, Kim’s life was in chaos.  She hadn’t worked in several years, she had serious drug misuse problems, her son had been removed from her care, and she had mounting debts including large rent arrears, and unpaid utility bills, and was under threat of eviction.

Kim first heard about the work of the Complex Families Support team when she attended a parenting course organised by Social Services.  In March 2013, she arranged to meet Natasha Glynn who is an Employment and Training Consultant at The Work Company centre in Tib Street, Manchester.  Having met with Kim and discussed the issues she was facing, Tasha and Kim agreed a plan to deal with each of the problems.  Her ultimate aim was to resolve the multiple issues she was dealing with, to regain custody of her son, and eventually get a job. The first step was for Kim to attend a 12 week Reduction and Motivation Programme (RAMP) to address her drug misuse issue. 

The programme went well, and together Tasha and Kim began to implement the plan.  Tasha attended many meetings with various agencies including Social Services, the housing association, and utility companies to represent Kim’s interests, as Kim found it difficult to engage with the agencies herself.  Because Kim had lost custody of her son, she was affected by the Housing Under-occupancy Penalty, known as the Bedroom Tax, and Tasha was able to negotiate a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the shortfall.  She also supported Kim to access a grant to get over £2800 in utility debts written off, and secured a substantial back payment of underpaid benefits, which enabled Kim to pay off a large sum from her rent arrears.

With Tasha’s help and support, Kim has attended a number of training courses, including IT, English and Employability, and has gained her first ever qualifications, achieving a BCS Level 1 Certificate for IT users, a Level 2 in Food Safety in Catering, and a RAMP Certificate of Achievement.   Kim has also enjoyed working as a volunteer, doing gardening at Victoria House Resettlement Service in Openshaw, and has had a poem published in an anthology entitled ‘Words with Wings’ produced by United Press. 

Kim has now been clean for over a year, and has unsupervised access to her son at weekends.  She is now focusing on preparing for work, and would like to return to the catering industry, as she had worked as a manager of a sandwich shop in the past.  Kim said: “I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of Tasha.  She’s gone over and above what I could have expected from a support worker.  I couldn’t cope with dealing with all the agencies I was involved with, but she’s helped me find my way through it all, and now I’m in a much healthier and happier place than I was.”

The Complex Families Support Programme is financed by the European Social Fund (ESF).