More than anything else in her life, Mel wants to cook food which puts a smile on people’s faces. Cooking gave her solace in overcoming the trauma of an abusive relationship. So when, back in February, we helped her find a job in a restaurant she was over the moon.
A few weeks later, we waved goodbye to Mel confident that she was able to go it alone. But February seems like a different world now. She phoned us a few weeks ago to tell us she had been made redundant as a result of the Covid pandemic. She has no furlough payment and she has effectively been cut adrift. The money she was saving to go to college is keeping her afloat for now but will run out in a few weeks.
Mel is a very strong woman and used to coping in severe adversity. She experienced years of isolation and cruelty at the hands of her former partner who physically and mentally abused her, locking her in their small flat whilst he went out drinking. With the support of St Giles, she was able to summons the courage to walk away and Mel felt like she had finally turned a corner.
The years of abuse prevented her from ever holding down a job so it took months of helping Mel build the skills and confidence she needed to enter the world of work and independence. So when she secured her job, she saw it as a route towards helping her save for college and pursue her dream of becoming a chef.
But with this untimely and unexpected blow, we are very worried for Mel. Even though she keeps a bright face on she has no family at all to offer her care and support. She didn’t even ask for help from us. But we are there for her.
St Giles shows people there’s a way to build a better future – for themselves and those they care about. It’s not easy – we empower and encourage each person to overcome the adversity they
face, from the outside world and from within themselves. If they stumble – like Mel did - we’re there to pick them back up.
We have helped Mel with necessities such as credit for the electricity meter in her bedsit and food parcels during the lockdown period so she is able to stay warm, dry and nourished.
But ultimately Mel tells us she needs our help in getting back into work. People always need to be fed and if that is through working in a supermarket or something similar Mel is happy to do it. And to do that we need your help. In the short term Mel needs phone credit to ensure she can answer calls from employers who might need her help during the lockdown. Then, once we finally get back to some sense of normality, she will need a basic laptop and internet access so she can fire off her CV and apply for jobs which use her talents as a budding chef.
By donating just £10 you can help us help Mel and the many others in similar situations to hers whose positive progress has been stymied by Covid. If you cannot donate at this time – no problem as we of all people know the life-changing effect this has had on most of us. But you can still stay in touch with us and find out more about our work.
Mel’s cooking makes people smile – can you keep her smiling too?
Like many of us Mel’s trying to keep a bright face on