Two single mothers are on the path back to work thanks to the GREAT Project – an
innovative programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.
Both mothers, Jo, 29, and Jade, 30 who are also sisters, have been unemployed for 7
years before being referred to the project, citing a lack of confidence as one of the most
difficult challenges they faced in returning to work.
“I love being a Mum,” said Jade,“_But it can be so easy to get locked in a routine. From to
school to home and back again. Cooking, feeding, cleaning. You start to think you can’t
do anything else.”
“I also wasn’t very confident. I didn’t really have a wide circle of friends and I wouldn’t
have known where to start looking for work. I felt like I didn’t have anything I could offer,”
The GREAT Project work with people furthest from the labour market to identify their
individual challenges and build a support plan that specifically addresses those
Working with their Employment Navigator, Jo and Jade first took part in Total
Commitment Training offered by one of the project’s partners, Personal Development
Point (PDP). This programme is designed to build confidence and team skills, and allow
participants to put into practice, abilities they may not have known they possessed.
“We were very nervous at first. We didn’t think it was going to be very good. But it was
incredible. We came out of our shells, we made new friends and we felt like we were part
of a team, that we could do something,” said Jo.
With the support of Business in the Community, they were able to take part in a twoweek
work placement with Marks and Spencer plc, where they gained further confidence
and skills in a work environment.
“It was amazing being back at work. I just felt like I was somebody again. Not just
somebody’s Mum,” said Jade.
“It’s so important to me to set a good example for my kids, to show them that you work
for your money. That nothing should just be handed to you,” explained Jo.
They will be continuing their progress by engaging with Leicestershire County Council
Work Clubs develop interview techniques and CV writing skills and make the move
towards permanent employment.
“The GREAT Project has made a 100 percent difference. I don’t know where we’d be
without it. It’s changed our lives.”
“The GREAT Project has been nothing but great. We haven’t had that kind of help from
Krishna Patel, the Navigator who worked with the two women, comments:
“It has been amazing to see the progress they have both made. They are more confident
and able to take on tasks that they would previously have found daunting. We tailor every
support package to the needs of the participant. Which makes all the difference.”
For more information, or to request a referral, please contact the GREAT Project via
The GREAT Project is a programme designed to help individuals within families in
Leicester and Leicestershire, who are not currently in employment or training, move
toward work. ‘GREAT’ stands for ‘Getting Ready for Employment and Training’.
The service is run by a range of statutory, not-for-profit and private companies, a
partnership approach that allows the project to tailor support to each family’s unique
The GREAT Project is funded by The Big Lottery and European Social Fund. The service is
delivered by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL).
If the GREAT Project can help you – or someone you work with – find their own path, please contact us.