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Our GEM participant was previously a qualified social worker living in London. However, in 2004 she came back to Gloucester as her family was living in the area and needed some help. Her mum was registered blind, but she began to notice she needed more support. Year on year her mum's health deteriorated until she become totally dependent on our GEM.
For the last five years I have been so overwhelmed, being relied on day and night has definitely taken it’s toll. The level of care needed was so high, I was unable to even leave my mum for 30 minutes.

It’s now been around 18 months since my mum passed, in which I realised how much these 14 years of caring for her has impacted on me; my own health had dramatically decreased, I felt socially isolated and lost so many skills. I felt like I lost everything, all confidence and assertiveness.

I didn’t want to go back into social work as felt it would have changed so much over the years but felt I was ready to head back into the working world. I really wanted to focus on working with children.

I applied for so many jobs, often with no reply or being told I was unsuccessful. I used to be such a strong character, so this made my confidence take a further dip.

Then through the care service, I found out about GEM and met with my Navigator Developer and things just seemed to click. He made me look at things in a more structural way; it was so helpful having someone there to offload on, make things seem more rational and help me to focus, guide and support me.

He helped me with job application processes when I needed it and provided opportunities to help begin to boost my confidence again with mock interview practice. After further interviews and applications, we contacted a local school to look at volunteering opportunities to help read with the children. Through this I was told about a Key Worker Assistant role and was offered an interview which resulted in me getting the job.

My Navigator Developer and I worked together for over a year but I’m so pleased to say I finally have a job I love! It’s only a temporary contract and even if I’m not offered a permanent post once the contract comes to an end, I’m still so much happier as it’s really helped me to get back into the working world.

The biggest thing for me has been the massive boost in my confidence, helping me with my journey getting back into work. Having that support and someone to guide you through the process, that reassurance that someone is there to literally hold your hand if you need it.

I’m so thankful for the GEM Project and the help it has given me to get my life back.”

GEM participant shares her experience as she moves from a social worker to full time carer before finding work again through GEM

by Nikki Davies