Anne-Marie, from Barnsley, has kick started her dream of an arts and crafts venture.
Self-belief had always been a problem for Anne-Marie. She always knew she wanted to get into arts & crafts, but her high levels of anxiety made breaking into the industry a challenge.
That all changed when she decided to go along to the Carers Garden Befriending Project, where we hold computer access sessions every Wednesday afternoon from 12 to 3.30pm.
In this safe environment, Anne-Marie was given access to a laptop so she could work on her creative craft skills, and would sit down with our Employment and Skills Coach, Helen Murphy, to discuss her career goals.
Anne-Marie began to put together her own portfolio of designs for sewing products using the IT equipment available, showcasing her ability to design purses, bags, curtains, felt and even jewellery.
Helen said: “From the moment I first sat down with Anne-Marie you could tell she had this passion for crafts and design, but she was just lacking the confidence to unlock her potential.”
“Once she got started, Anne-Marie realised she could achieve far more than she thought, and wanted to learn more so she could begin her own self-employed venture.”
One of the reasons for Anne-Marie’s increase in confidence was her regular attendance at our Employment and Skills Service’s Coach Club sessions in Athersley, where the group accepted her as part of the family and encouraged Anne-Marie to follow her goals.
Anne-Marie said: “I had this feeling of belonging. I wasn’t judged… I was accepted as part of something. I never felt isolated or segregated.
“The Doing Good Business programme and The Coalfields Regeneration Trust provided me with contacts to networks such as Romero’s mental health support, to access other services to aid my own welfare.
“I felt supported with help and information for making choices; this helped me to become self-sustainable.”
She also has been working with Barnsley’s Digital Champion Service to further advance her IT skills using PCs and tablets, as well as utilising digital tools like smartphone apps and social media to promote her work safely and securely.
Anne-Marie has now enrolled for a part-time sewing skills course at Barnsley College beginning in January.
Her self-employment venture is also starting to get underway after meeting with Sheffield City Region’s Launchpad service to gain advice and support from established entrepreneurs.