“I could see my self-confidence growing as I was learning new skills as well as being taught how to look after myself.”

Charley is 21 years old and had moved from Manchester to Cannock in November. Back then she was unemployed and was suffering from emotional distress. She had qualifications in photography as well as experience working at fast food restaurants. She had been looking for work for 6 months.

She was put on the Evolve program by her roommate, Loz, who works at COGS, after she took her to an Evolve event at Open House, Burntwood, and thought she would benefit the program and that it could help her be more confident in finding work as well as looking after herself.

Charley became COGS’s first Evolve participant. She wanted to learn how to take care of herself emotionally, financially and hygienically. She spent the first week being trained to garden, which then progressed to wood work, and was having private one to one sessions about self-care at home and money management. Since being on the Evolve program, she had become more hygienic, financially responsible, less dependent on her roommate and became confident in herself. This also helped her distract herself from issues outside of work that were clouding her mind.

After 3 months since starting the program, Charley finally landed a full-time job at KFC and could get off benefits. She said that it’s “the best feeling in the world to call Universal Credit and sign off.” She believed that being on benefits didn’t help her feel confident in finding work and felt as though she was dependant on her roommate and her boyfriend. She would now be able to save up and afford her own DSLR camera and go back to taking professional photos and hopefully build up a portfolio to get a career in photography.