We wanted to highlight some of the success stories behind Signposts and are grateful to those clients who have had the courage to share their experiences here:
Mr B was a regular elderly visitor, with no family or nearby support. Our liaison workers identified some health issues and personal vulnerabilities, and were concerned for his well-being and finances. We contacted agencies on his behalf and now he’s getting some care at home and is coping better
“I’m 30 and originally from the West Midlands. I was suffering family disputes and moved here to escape, but I became very isolated. I suffer a variety of mental health problems, and other chronic social and integration issues. As a result I find it difficult to use public transport or interact with people in general, and I am very reserved and defensive. I had lost the use of my washing machine several months ago and had been sending my washing via a friend to be cleaned at the local launderette.
Signposts organised a Rowley Trust application available to single women, to pay for a new appliance, which was approved and delivered.
I now feel a better sense of well-being, am experiencing less stress and am able to keep to my previous cleanliness regime as a result.”
“My marriage broke down and I had no understanding of the legal systems. I was very low, and lost my job through redundancy shortly after, which added to my stress. The Signpost liaison workers were recommended to me by the jobcentre. They were sympathetic and adept, quickly registering me for several online employment services and local courses, and organising the benefits I needed. I also attended the free legal advice and CAB drop-in sessions at the centre, in order to arrange access to my children. I was always welcomed, and always left feeling refreshed and motivated. Now, I’m working in a local restaurant, and although my custody situation is still a little tricky, I’ve been introduced to the correct systems and authorities through Signposts, and I am very grateful.”
“I first came to the Signpost Centre through the Job Centre as I was interested in volunteering. I was experiencing some personal issues and was suffering with severe anxiety, stress and low confidence.
Since coming to the centre, I have had one to one support from staff and have attended several courses such as Cap Job club and Mind in Action. I’ve now been coming to Signposts for 2 years. Its a really good thing doing activities and volunteer work in the community. If it wasn’t for the Signpost centre, then my life wouldn’t have changed and I wouldn’t have gained this much confidence.
I have come a long way and am really pleased with myself for the changes I have made in my life. I have got 5 certificates, including ‘Volunteer of the month’, ‘certificates of recognition’, ‘CAP Job Club’ and ‘CAP Money’ certificate from Signposts which I now look back on and can see how far I have come.
The Signpost staff are all friendly and supportive and have helped me gain more confidence and meet new people and ask for help with other problems. My life has been ok and is now excellent. I am very pleased and thanks again to Signposts for helping me with my life skills and support that I need.”
“I’ve been coming to the Signpost Centre since July 2011. I came in at the start for the Mums and tots group with my little boy. I had post natal depression and bi polar. I was anxious and quiet.
So far, I’ve helped out with the mums and tots group and I’ve been studying sign language levels 1 and 2. I’ve also been volunteering in the kitchen and on reception.
I’ve had one to one help a number of times from the Client Liaison Workers at Signposts and these have helped me to get better with my anxiety and depression. I’ve calmed down quite a lot as I was having 6 or 7 panic attacks a day, but now I’ve got used to being with people. It’s helped me that I am out and about and I’m not so panicky.”
“I came to Signposts when I started a new family and my housing needs changed. Signposts helped me to set up an online bidding account to apply for more suitable properties, and also liaised with my previous employer and landlord to provide references to the housing agency. In only a matter of weeks I had found more suitable accommodation thanks to the help of Signposts’ liaison workers. I’ve never had a PC although I know how to use one, so Signposts also gave me a computer to use at home. Now I am able to access the internet and keep my children entertained.”
“I’ve been involved with Signposts’ help since 2008. I’m a recovering alcoholic, and was in a bad state for the best part of 14 years or so. I had just managed to get myself a flat after being homeless. So financially and socially very, very poor.
I now volunteer in the canteen quite a lot and I help out with various things. Anything really, fix anything, wash cars or help anybody out when I can. If Signposts wasn’t here I don’t think I’d be around today. Had it not been for their financial aid, food, help with my finances through CAP, Citizens Advice Bureau, and everybody at the centre who has talked to me and listened to me and helped me out, I don’t think I’d have coped at all. It’s been a lifesaver.
Since quitting the alcohol, getting my life together and creating goals, and doing training, I’m now hoping to get a job in security work. My whole life in general, socially, with my kids and everything else is much, much better. I’m far more relaxed, confident and more sociable.”
“I came to Signposts for help when I was made redundant from City Link. I’d never used a computer before but the job centre insisted I must find work online, and recommended Signposts to me as a source of assistance. The liaison workers at Signposts helped me to set up an online profile and send some initial applications, however they quickly identified that I shouldn’t be looking for work at all, as I had started caring for a family member who had become very ill. They revised my benefits claim online, and helped me out with food packages while the claim was processed.
I’m now claiming the correct benefits for my situation, and had some basic guidance on how to use a PC. Its very daunting and a new skill but I’ve learnt how to play card games on the internet. Signposts also arranged two training courses for me, in I.T. and Social Care. These have helped me to understand technology a little more and also to apply my time better to the person I care for.”
Terence* was referred to us by the Job Centre for work experience. He volunteered for several sessions but was becoming increasingly frustrated. We spent time with him to help identify his needs and have suggested other options for work experience. He has also begun to engage with us more generally and is planning to attend the CAP Job course. He also receives help with work-related activities e.g. CV writing & job searching, and receives emotional support over personal family issues.
Miss C came to us for help when she was taken ill from her job and her sickness benefit ended, with no entitlement to any other help.
She supports two children on her own and was struggling to fund household bills and groceries.
We organised a Rowley Trust grant for shopping vouchers and as a result Miss C has been able to buy two weeks worth of groceries.
Miss C said “I had no way of making ends meet, I’d exhausted every other option and had nowhere to turn. Signposts gave me some money towards my shopping, and also investigated my case thoroughly to ensure I’d made claims for all my welfare entitlements. Having help towards my shopping has enabled me to reprioritise and use a small amount of money to pay household bills and contribute towards some immediate debts. I’ll continue to work with Signposts staff to work towards a long term solution, as I expect my illness to be ongoing.”
* We have changed the names of these clients
If you would like to make a donation or set up a regular giving amount to help people in this way and further the work of our centres then check out our Local Giving site