Since March, participant Mina had become very anxious about Covid-19 and felt unable to leave her home, even to get essential amenities. As the sole carer of her teenage son and a limited support network within her local area, she’d become very isolated and needed help.
After speaking with her Employment Support Officer Desrie about her situation, The GREAT project looked into finding her a volunteer through the project’s lead partner VAL (Voluntary Action LeicesterShire). Throughout the pandemic, VAL have recruited thousands of volunteers, and were able to help find Mina a suitable match called Holli.
Volunteer Holli had signed up to help those who were most affected by Covid-19. As a mum of 3 herself who was supporting others in the community too, she also lived locally to Mina. Her support started with the delivery of food and medicines to Mina’s doorstep, and over time, has developed into friendship.
She told me to call her anytime… Even if I don’t call her, I still feel like there’s someone there mentally, who I can call” – Mina
19 weeks later, both women have learnt from one another, with Holli building her knowledge of different cultures and where to source certain foods, whilst Mina continues to perfect her spoken English through chats with Holli. Mina has also started to feel more confident about leaving the house for essential items with the moral support of her new friend.
With sons of a similar age who share a common interest, Holli and Mina have also made plans for the boys to attend boxing together once lockdown lifts, giving both families something to look forward to.
In addition to introducing Holli and Mina, the GREAT project has supported Mina with her confidence via one-to-one remote support and online employment and wellbeing courses.
Mina has more confidence now, and smiles a lot more! There’s a real friendship there.” – Desrie, Employment Support Officer, GREAT Project
With this newfound confidence, friendship and specialist support, Mina feels positive about finding the right training and work to support herself and her son in spite of Covid-19.