Judy was a cleaner but found herself out of work following a prolonged period of recovery after a shoulder operation, during which she also had developed severe allergies to strong smelling cleaning products, therefore she was unable to return to the sector she had thoroughly enjoyed working in.

Judy’s Work Coach at Brighton Jobcentre Plus recognised her health barriers and suggested a referral to the Work and Health Programme with our delivery partner, Maximus UK, to get additional support and progress towards her sustainable work goals.

A chance to explore self-employment

She met with her Employment Adviser at Maximus, Tracey, and during their first appointment, Judy explained that she had a business idea using her creative sewing and craft skills and wanted to explore self-employment as a career option. After her initial induction, an action plan was created and Tracey set to work progressing Judy’s idea.

Judy brought in samples of her work, which included hand-painted hair scrunchies and photos of her painted silk clothing. These products were of very high quality and using the best sales websites would really help her to sell.

Building a business

Tracey helped Judy to understand the purpose of a business plan and together, they produced an initial draft, set up a website and brainstormed ideas on how she would market her products. In addition to self-employment advice, they completed a ‘better off in work’ calculation and created a cashflow forecast so that Judy would have an idea of how she can increase her sales over the next 12 months.

Through her new website, Judy started selling her products on Folksy, Etsy, Pinterest and Facebook. With Tracey’s help, she continued to work on improvements to her website to keep it looking professional.

‘The Stitched Bird’

At each appointment, they reviewed the previous month’s progress and discussed next steps to help grow the business. With the support from the Work and Health Programme, Judy has now set up a successful business called, ‘The Stitched Bird’ and Tracey will be supplying business cards and leaflets to help her to continue marketing her business once she finishes the programme.

Judy said, “I have benefitted exceptionally from the Work and Health Programme. I feel more confident with the support from Tracey and better equipped to move my business forward independently.”

To find out more about how the Work and Health Programme can support you or someone you know their journey back into work, speak to your JCP Work Coach, or click here.

The Work and Health Programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund, for participants who started on programme on or before 1st November 2022.

In partnership with Maximus UK.

Area: Brighton, East Sussex

Have a question? Call us 0800 334 5525 Contact us