Natalie's Story -
My name is Natalie, I have been a Taff Tenant since Feb 2016. I decided once I had settled into my lovely new home that it was time to focus on my future. I started to think about how I could achieve my goals to better my life and be a strong role model for my son. I started to worry about the fact that I didn’t have any employment experience or qualifications. I was a little stuck and not sure about what to do next. Until, one day Taff Housing Association had a stand at my son’s school (Kitchener Primary). I immediately showed interest in the free training they were offering and put my details down for a number of courses.
After starting my first course in January, I met with Community Investment Officer Clare to talk about how I could achieve my goals. I told her my experiences in my personal life and explained my worry about not being able to find work. Clare asked me what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be a Care Worker in the community as I thought this was all I was capable of, as I had spent many years caring for family members.
Clare made me feel I was capable of more than this and had the potential to offer a higher level of support, from my personal and volunteering experience with Marie Curie. Thinking about it, I could see that maybe she was right! I had lots of experience as a carer already even though I had never worked. Clare asked me how I would feel about volunteering with Taff as this may help my confidence and could help me reach my career goals. I agreed and said I would love this. Clare got back to me within days and suggested a placement with the Older Persons Support Team. I was really happy with this idea and started as soon as my DBS security check and basic training had been done.
After a few weeks of volunteering at Taff, Clare told me about an exciting new project that the St Giles Trust was running and how it would be perfect for me. A 6 month contract, 16 hours a week paid job with training to become Peer Advisor. I would also get a Level 3 qualification in ‘Information and Guidance’! I hadn’t worked before so having this as my first job sounded like a dream.
Being a Peer Advisor for St Giles Trust has been a fantastic experience so far. I work 3 days a week- 1 day with the Older Persons Team, 1 day with the Forensic Support Team and 1 day helping families new to Cardiff integrate. I’ve also spent a few days at Taff’s young women’s hostel Ty Seren. I love the variety! Each day is different. Sometimes I am out and about all day, other days I am more office based typing up case notes.
My career is now on track and I feel I’m worthy of something not just for myself but most importantly my son. I am now a strong confident woman, using my life experiences to help others.
Natalie was nominated by Clare who is one of many at Taff Building Foundations for Better Futures, and after seeing just how hard Natalie has worked and progressed, we are delighted that she has won this award. She is a real inspiration to us all at Taff and truly deserves this recognition.