Emma’s Story

Emma was a young person who had been living in foster care from the age of 5 and began her tenancy with Southend YMCA in 2018, having been referred by her social worker.

On arriving at Southend YMCA housing, Emma found it difficult to make her living spaces comfortable and organised, and found money management and budgeting challenging, especially routine admin tasks such as banking. She had experienced a lack of confidence in school and college and had historically found it difficult to complete any courses. So she joined the New Beginnings programme project as part of CXK’s Step Up project – a project which offers bespoke training programmes to support NEET (not in education, employment or training) 16-24 year olds in Kent and Medway, East Sussex, Essex, Thurrock and Southend.

The New Beginnings programme supported Emma to develop life skills to help her improve her living environment, manage her money and improve her self-esteem, and she subsequently became organised enough to address some of her life goals and aspirations. She also worked to improve her maths and literacy skills and completed three of the New Beginnings modules.

Emma said; “I always wanted to work in the retail industry but before working with New Beginnings I had never managed to successfully complete the online aptitude test for the supermarket where I wanted to work. But after receiving the help with Maths, Literacy and Customer Service skills, I was able to pass the online test! I was then offered a job!”

Southend YMCA said: “Looking back at the young person who first arrived at the Southend YMCA, staff have seen an extraordinary transformation in Emma’s life skills, money management, job readiness and confidence.

“Emma gained a huge amount of confidence and maturity by taking part in New Beginnings, which has led to the housing team nominating her for independent move-on accommodation. It has been such an important step towards her achieving many of her goals.”

CXK’s Step Up is a bespoke training programme to engage and support NEET (not in education, employment or training) 16-24 year olds in Kent and Medway, East Sussex, Essex, Thurrock and Southend. The programme is designed to support their personal development and/or to help in preparing them to move on to an apprenticeship, traineeship, further education, or work

Funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), the programme looks to address the rising number of 16-24 year olds claiming out of work benefits as a result of the pandemic.


About the European Social Fund

The project is receiving £2m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.  For more information visit: England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds.

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