Tammi was referred to Kineara’s Intensive Employment Support Programme by her Housing Support Manager, to receive one-to-one holistic support for a wide range of issues from housing to family support needs. Having lived in both London and Trinidad for the past 20 years, she was keen to find a suitable job to support her family.

“It's been very trying since I came. I've not lived in London for over 12 years, so a lot has changed. It actually turned out to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated."

said Tammi.

 Tammi, who joined the employment programme in early June, was facing multiple challenges relating to her housing situation, family support needs, wellbeing, and seeking employment. Living with her father and two young children in a one-bedroom flat in Islington, Tammi’s journey has been far from easy.

“Coming back from Trinidad, I thought I would be able to get some help finding my own place but it didn’t work out. Now I’m with my dad in a one bedroom, with my two kids. Sometimes it feels like the system itself is not geared to actually help you” she says.

As a lone parent and the primary carer of her two children, Tammi is a pillar of support for everyone around her. Last year when news came that her sister had developed cancer, she was the first to step up and support her through her it.

“Last November, I found out that my sister had cancer, so in between looking for jobs, I was going to hospital with her; most days when she had chemotherapy, I’d go with her. Then of course the side effects of chemo caused other issues. I felt like that was my job for the last year.”

After a year of supporting her sister through chemotherapy, Tammi would never have expected her father to go through the same life-changing event. So, when her father was diagnosed with cancer in July, it took another emotional toll on her. “When it comes to my family if they need me, I’m here to support. I was a carer, every doctor knows me, every surgeon knows me. I’m now helping my dad, now he has to go through all this.

It was then that Tammi’s passion for helping cancer patients and vulnerable people was sparked. Speaking about her voluntary work, she says: “The doctors call me Pinky because I cut off my hair and dyed it pink to raise money for breast cancer. I now have to go with purple because my dad has prostate cancer…no I’m joking. But as I say, the last few years have been difficult. Thank God, we are a close-knit family. When I feel like giving up, I know my dad and my sister will be there to pick me up.”

Despite the challenges, Tammi has been working closely with our keyworker Liz, to find a suitable job that works both practically and financially. “I started looking for work and realised that a lot of jobs don’t cater for a single mum. The hours are really drastic” she explains. 

 

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Those days I couldn't function, Liz would sit down and help me one application at a time. Having someone who's willing to help and guide you, with everything else you have going on. It was just a comfort knowing that I could call Liz and ask her questions.

“When it comes to my family, if they need me I’m here to support. I was a carer, every doctor knows me, every surgeon knows me. I’m now helping my dad, now he has to go through all this.” she adds

“Those days I couldn’t function, Liz would sit down and help me one application at a time. She helped me with my CV, she helped me out with a couple of job applications: the really long-winded ones that could take up to a day to complete. So far, what she’s done has been a great help. I’m hoping she can steer me in the right direction and help me get a job that is a little bit more flexible for mums.”

Tammi is keen to continue developing her skills and improving her job prospects by taking a variety of courses. Over the last year, she has completed a makeup course, threading course and an IT course.

“I took an IT course to sharpen up my skills and help me get back into work. With technology these days, it’s important to top up your skills. But in the middle of that course, my sister got diagnosed with cancer, which made me want to help people with cancer” she explains.

Working with Liz, Tammi has also received practical support for her father and wider family needs, like completing application forms, grant forms and a helping hand.

“I feel like you’re thrown into the deep end with no guidance, none at all. I literally had to fill out all the forms from child benefit, job seekers allowance, all these forms. When I called Liz and told her that my dad has terminal cancer, she came and helped him with some forms, like applying for grants. Having someone who’s willing to help and guide you, with everything else you have going on. It was just a comfort knowing that I could call Liz and ask her questions.”

Liz has also been liaising directly with Southern Housing Group, to remind them about Tammi’s housing situation. As the flat is overcrowded, Tammi is eager to move somewhere suitable for herself and her family.

“To have Liz working with the landlord and reminding them about our situation – that to me is a big help. I honestly think when we find somewhere else it will be easier because the flat is overcrowded and we are constantly cramped. The place was built for one person, it wasn’t designed for four people. We are on a waiting list now.”

Another benefit of the programme was the financial and practical support it provided. As well as working on developing employability skills including CV writing, application forms and interview skills, Tammi is now able to search for jobs independently. “I had a laptop which my friend broke, so I couldn’t charge it. They paid for a new charger it, which has been a big help.”

So far, Tammi has found Kineara’s support really helpful, in particular, the one-to-one holistic approach and the opportunity to focus on her own personal wellbeing.

“You go to one office for housing, they say that they can’t tell you about job seekers. You go to another about job seekers, they say that they can’t tell you about benefits. But at the end of the day they are all intertwined. Liz has been helping me loads. I’m hoping she can continue steer me in the right direction.”

“I honestly think that when we find somewhere else it will be easier because the flat is overcrowded. Liz has been helping me loads. I’m hoping she can continue to steer me in the right direction.”