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Making a difference
Case Study

From sewing clubs to running for local council

Vickie is a participant on our Working Potential programme, supported by coaches at Bolton at Home.


Vickie is a sandwich Carer, caring for both her partner and an elderly parent. Due to her caring responsibilities and personal health issues, Vickie felt unable to carry on in her professional role, and took the difficult decision to leave work to care. Following a referral to Working Potential from the Carers group she attends, she was keen to feedback about the barriers that she and other Carers face and also to access help with finding training opportunities.

Initially, Vickie felt that she couldn’t return to employment as she thought an employer wouldn’t be able to accommodate the time off that she would need to attend appointments with those that she cares for. She also felt the same way about accessing a training course at a College, however her coach, Tara, identified some free online Open University courses that she could do at home around her caring responsibilities.


Vickie also has a passion for sewing and she was disappointed to learn that there were no local sewing groups. However, with a little encouragement, she decided to set up and deliver her own group. With help from Working Potential to source materials, equipment and a venue, Vickie has been running her well-attended sewing group from the beginning of the year, with up to 15 people attending each week.


At the Community Centre, where Vickie runs her sewing group, Vickie and her partner now also attend a seated exercise group together, providing some much needed quality time. They also use the accessible BWFC tickets that Bolton at Home source as part of their partnership with the club, enabling them both to go and see live football.


Vickie says, ‘This project has helped me personally in two ways. Firstly, it’s got me back into education, both learning & teaching, which I love. Secondly, it’s given me & my husband the opportunity to enjoy a past time together that he enjoys & we couldn’t afford this on our own. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.’


Recently Vickie was approached by a member of the local council after they heard about the success of the sewing group and was asked if she would she run for council. Vickie was delighted and is now on the campaign trail!


This goes to show that a little support and encouragement can help carers to access opportunities and activities that can have a big impact on their wellbeing and help them to recognise their skills and value. Even if a carer cannot access employment which utilises their full skillset, they can still give a lot back to their local community through volunteering and gain a feeling of value from doing so.


Her coach Tara says, “It’s been a pleasure to watch Vickie progress through the support of Working Potential. Seeing her in her element delivering a sewing class to a large group in her local community and listening to her speak passionately about running for local council makes me very proud.”


We wish Vickie every success for the future.


Until the new employer engagement officer is in post, please get in touch with our contracts officer, for more information or to register your interest in supporting the programme  


Working Potential