Tanya (far right), with staff from Redbridge Carers Centre
Tanya is 45 and came to the UK from Latvia 22 years ago. In 2001 she met and married her husband, Alan. The couple live in east London with their 14-year-old son.
Their life changed in 2006 when Alan was diagnosed with arthritis. At first, he was able to carry on working. But as his condition became worse he soon found it hard to stand up or walk. Tanya found it increasingly hard to leave Alan, helping him with personal care and to get out of bad, and reassuring him when he was in pain.
By 2016 Tanya had been caring full-time for Alan for ten years and had to give up her job: “I’d completely lost sight of myself and felt isolated after putting everything into caring for Alan. I’d come to the end of the road and felt as if I had nothing more to give.”
How did Working for Carers help?
Tanya was at rock bottom when she heard about a workshop for people trying to move closer back to work. “It triggered something inside me. At the workshop I read a leaflet offering support to people in my position. It made me feel that I really could get my life back on track.”
The leaflet mentioned the Working for Carers project. Keen to find out more, Tanya visited Redbridge Carers Support Service where her employment personal adviser was supportive and took time to understand her situation and the type of employment she was interested in.
Her adviser helped Tanya write her CV and when Tanya was ready, encouraged her to go to a Working for Carers workshop on building self-confidence and interview skills.
The workshop gave Tanya the skills she needed to apply for her Security Industry Authority (SIA) Badge Training. And thanks to a small grant from Redbridge Carers Support Service, Tanya was able to buy an SIA license, meaning she could start applying for jobs in her chosen field.
What was the result?
Within a few weeks, Tanya had been offered a job working in security for a local college.
Working for Carers helped Tanya recognise the importance of looking after herself. “Working for Carers helped me believe in myself again and taught me I can only going on caring for Alan if I learn to look after my own needs too.”
Things can still be difficult at home for Tanya, but she feels much better able to cope now that she has her job and all the confidence that comes with it.
My advice for anyone who feels they can’t rebuild their confidence and get back into work is to contact Working for Carers. It’s the right project with the right people, and it has the right tools to help anyone who was struggling like I was.”
Find out more about the free Working for Carers service in London and how it can support carers.
Although we have used a real photo of Tanya her name has been changed in the interest of privacy.