Maria's Story

Maria is 58 and lives in Newton Heath. She was made redundant about a year ago from an insurance company where she had worked for 7 years. She was doing ok, but then she had a series of family crises and illnesses (daughter miscarried, granddaughter diagnosed with cancer and her Mum became seriously ill). She was suffering with depression and anxiety at this difficult time and was signed off sick and unable to work.

Maria was getting advice from the Job Centre and they referred her to a DWP Health and Wellbeing event at The Stirling Centre in Newton Heath. It was while she was there she met Chris from Motiv8. Maria was getting visibly upset and distressed at the event and Chris spotted her and took her under her wing. Maria says: “Meeting Chris was an absolute godsend. She took me to one side and just listened. She is so genuine, helpful and down to earth.”

How has Motiv8 made a difference to your life?

My life has changed 100% since I joined the Motiv8 programme. Having a personalised action plan, and with Chris’s gentle guidance, I have sorted out my CV, ventured to job fairs - even got offered a job, which, although it was not what I needed, it was a great confidence boost. I have turned a corner and really starting to get my confidence back.

More recently, Chris has helped me sign up for a placement with the Volition course at Manchester Cathedral. It is here that I have made the most progress. I’ve met lots of new people, great interaction and I’m getting my confidence back. I am particularly keen on the Beekeeping here - in fact I haven’t felt this enthusiastic about anything for a very long time. It is a very positive experience and I would recommend it to anyone.”

What might have happened if Motiv8 had not helped?

“If Motiv8 had not been there I would have sunk lower and lower. I was stuck in a dark hole and couldn’t see the point of anything. Now, even on my ‘off’ days I can see a way forward.”

What does Motiv8 and the support you got mean to you?

“The best thing about the Moti8 support I’ve had is having someone like Chris to talk to. Obviously I have family, but having someone outside of that who I could chat to about my worries was great. She has really helped me to get motivated again and I especially like the fact that we could take it one step at a time at my own pace without any pressure. She has been like a warm blanket, a steady and guiding hand, encouraging me to take action to get back on track.

The volunteering at Volition has been fantastic too, and I am definitely heading in the right direction to start looking for a new job. With Chris’s help, I am sure that I will make it. For me, I’m seeing the New Year as a new start!”

Maria’s Keyworker, Chris, said:

“When I first met Maria I could see straight away that she was having an anxiety attack. I asked if she wanted to go somewhere quiet and much less crowded. Once we had found somewhere, Maria and I chatted about her health, home and what she would like to do for the future. I knew that Motiv8 was perfect for her and she registered with Motiv8 straight away. For the first few meetings, we talked about short term goals, of how she could get her anxiety under control and get her motivation back. This progressed to volunteering and attending jobs fairs. It's been a privilege to watch Maria grow in confidence and belief in her own abilities and to become a dynamic go getting person who has smashed her barriers and is tackling her mental health issues head on.”

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