“I have been a service user of BWA which has helped me very much in understanding how I can live a better harmonious life with my family by managing my finances and needs. I have been able to find out if i have claimed the right welfare benefits and how to manage my family income which had become a nightmare for me with no financial literacy or understanding on how to budget money.
“When I went to BWA for help they assessed my needs and created a plan of action for me and advised me on STEPs to take that will give me knowledge and understanding on how to look after my family finances. We are a low-income family with four children of primary school age and English is not my first language as I came to the UK to settle with my husband 12 years ago. Going to BWA has also helped me to better my English and to make friends and now I look forward to making plans to learning maths and English so that I can enter the job market to better our living standards”.
“I am a single parent with low educational qualifications. I started going to BWA and enrolled on their STEP Project. This has been a life changing move for me. I was an isolated single mother with a toddler, and I never thought that I would have the opportunity to progress myself being a single mother with no support. I have been able to get one to one mentoring. I have also been able get help and advice on my benefit entitlements and support and information on job searches and interview preparation.
“My biggest fear was not being able to support my child independently and respectfully without being reliant on benefits however I now feel motivated to challenge and trial new routes to employment I did not consider before. I am also considering entering into work experience and studying a literacy and numeracy course to better mine and my child’s future. The staff at BWA are friendly and easy to approach and I feel privileged being there”.
“I am 35 years old, and I go to BWA for advice, guidance, and mentoring support from the staff at BWA. I only have a few GCSE qualifications, but BWA has given me the opportunity to do voluntary work at the centre. I come from a deprived neighbourhood in Tipton and going to BWA has encouraged me to think outside the box and gain work experience so that I can apply for jobs in the future. I enjoy the voluntary experience which brings me closer to everyday people & encourages me to visualise a positive future for myself”.
“I am 22 years of age from Tipton and unemployed. I did not continue my education after leaving school. I was introduced to BWA and started attending the STEP Projects Employability Club which helped me to understand that I had to make changes to my life to achieve a successful career. I gained confidence, motivation, help and support in looking at different pathways which will help me better my personal, social and economic situation. I have since enrolled into Sandwell college to study an Introductory Diploma in Information Technology. I always had an interest in computing but never thought of following my interests until I was encouraged by BWA. Through engaging, communicating and socialising with other service users I was able to understand that I was not alone in needing guidance”.
“I moved to Tipton a few years ago. I have small children who go to school and my husband works part time at the local grocery store. I was introduced to BWA through a relative. I met STEP Workers who were very considerate and understanding and they did an assessment of my circumstances, helped me identify my needs and advised me on things I can do to reach my goals. I wanted to learn how to cook different cuisines so that I can cater for my growing children’s taste and learn how to cook on a budget. BWA has helped me become more confident with my cooking and taught me different techniques and skills which I never knew. Joining the STEP project has been an inspiring and motivating journey which I would recommend to anyone like me”.
“I live in Tipton, but I rarely used to socialise with anyone due to my depression. I was walking by BWA when they said hello and I was taken back by their friendliness. I enquired about what they did, and they invited me back to the centre for a tour. I lacked confidence but I felt comfortable with them, so I decided to go back to BWA. This became the best decision I ever made as I felt my loneliness disappeared and I began to feel alive. I am very grateful to BWA for providing me with a STEP plan which identified my needs and aspirations. I am of middle age, but I now feel young again and I feel confident to do things I would never have done living in isolation. I now have friends I can go out with; I use a computer to connect with the entire world and I have mentors I can approach for guidance and advice”.
“I am a mother of five children and my world has always revolved around my children and household chores. When I came to BWA and met so many ladies who were housewives like me but doing more for themselves I became inspired, and I realised I wanted more in life, and I wanted to positively contribute to the welfare of my family. I joined the STEP plan and underwent an assessment where I identified I could do more with my time. I am a keen gardener with minimal skills and BWA had an allotment which I began to participate in. This has been very exciting for me as I have gained confidence in gardening, made new friends and now I can grow my own vegetables at home and share gardening tips with others”.
“I am a local Tipton resident and I have children attending primary school. I approached BWA with a query relating to my inability to help my children with their homework as I didn’t have much English understanding. I saw how my children got frustrated knowing I couldn’t help or contribute any ideas or suggestions and I felt I was lacking as a parent. BWA helped me through their STEP project by assessing my situation and advised me to join ESOL. I have now successfully completed my first year and my English has improved. Now I feel useful, proud and confident that I can contribute to my children’s education. This has also helped me to meet other mothers with a common interest and I have been able to make friends. I look forward to continuing to learn English and to using this new found skill to enhance my workability profile. I am looking forward to utilising BWA’s employability programme to find suitable employment”.
“I live in Tipton with my family. I am a housewife, and my husband is unemployed due to a long-term disability. I have two grown children in their 20’s who are out of work and education. I contacted BWA for advice and i was amazed by their help and support. They assessed my situation and gave me invaluable advice. I found out that being my husband’s primary carer I was able to receive carer’s allowance. This is very mentally and financially rewarding.
"I can now go out with my husband to various locations free of charge as an accompanying carer. This has also helped me to improve my relationship with my husband as we get to spend more meaningful times together. I was also able to take my son’s to BWA for support, advice and guidance which was fantastic as now one son is going to Sandwell College and one son is on an apprenticeship programme all thanks to BWA”.
“I went to BWA to see what help they could offer me as I was financially struggling to cope. I was so deflated and anxious talking about my financial matters, but the BWA staff made me feel comfortable and offered me a confidential service which I will never forget. They took me through the STEP triage assessment to evaluate my situation.
“They invited me on to the financial workshop where I was able to learn about financial management, how to tackle my debts and how to budget my spending. This was an eye-opening time for where I learnt so much about how to manage money more efficiently. Now I am more money conscious and my debts have diminished slowly. This experience has given me confidence and increased my self-esteem”.