People find Fair Shares through a variety of ways – being referred to us, stumbling across our work, or intentionally trying to find a community group. Sylvia was a mix of all three.
“The first time I got involved with Fair Shares – my nan and grandpa went to the market to look for work experience for me and one of the people at the market said that they weren’t taking anyone on, but there was a stall down the bottom that would take people on. We went there, spoke to Rob [who runs our Monday lunch club], and my grandparents told him about how I was looking for a job and Rob suggested the monday group. I could come in every Monday and learn to cook.”
“Everybody’s from different age groups, you can make friends, do activities, cook and it’s nice to sit down and have a meal together. Playing pool is very fun when I play with my friends – sometimes I lose, sometimes I win.”
After making friends and becoming comfortable with the group, she even joined us on our annual Bournemouth holiday.
“The bournemouth holiday was absolutely amazing, I really loved it. We did all sorts of things each day, we went up to this island where we could see red squirrels – there were loads of them. I also found the history interesting – there was a school there, church, army camp and hospital – but one day the island was on fire. But with the island, usually men find them and build them up, but actually this time it was a woman who found it and built it up.”
Of course, her original purpose of finding a job hadn’t been forgotten. She was dilligently searching and applying, and with much perserverance finally succeeded.
“I was looking for a job for a really really long time, and I was online researching some jobs. I saw an agency and applied, and they had a job. They wanted me to come in and have an interview and literally the very next day when I had the interview they rang me and got me in straight away and I’ve been working at Hartpury College ever since. [Being at Fair Shares]… really helped me, it built up my confidence a lot because before when I started I was shy and didn’t know anyone, but my confidence got bigger and bigger.”
Sylvia is still a regular at our weekly lunch group, and still accepting pool challengers despite having made her entry into the world of work.
“I just like coming here – it’s very nice, the atmosphere, and it’s like one big happy family.”