In 2010 Helen was diagnosed with neurofibrematosis Type 2, resulting in the loss of Helen’s hearing in her left ear.
After graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011 with a degree in Bachelor of Science Geography, she was forced to take time off work to undergo various operations, which resulted in the permanent loss of her hearing.
I had auditory implants provided but they only give me a simple sound for when I’m lipreading, so it was a lot to adjust to, a lot of changes within my life. I had to learn how to communicate again, I felt very cut off.
I realised I needed extra help from others that I didn’t need before, I used to be very independent and now I needed help, with things around the house, just simple little things but it does take away that independence.
Even the way I communicate with friends, how I interact with new people, get used to lip patterns, learning how to lipread I was thrown in the deep end, learning new techniques and ways to just get on with my life.
Having to adapt to my new situation resulted in me losing confidence in my ability to communicate well with others in the work place; subsequently resulting in several unsuccessful job interviews.
Helen began volunteering at the Bury Society for Deaf and Hearing Impaired People one day each week to gain some work experience while she recovered from her illness, it was there that a chance meeting with Pure Innovations and the 4 Steps to Work programme provided her with an opportunity to get back into work
I had just started volunteering here one day a week for a few hours, and I just bumped into Dina, we got chatting and she mentioned the 4 Steps to Work programme and what it involved, I thought, as I’m getting better, maybe its something to think about with the transition to getting back into work.
I was referred by my support advisor, who I contacted to say I was ready to progress to the next part of my work.
Helen’s knowledge, plus the important role she played within the Deaf Centre resulted in the offer of a job as a Fundraising and Marketing Officer role.
Dina met with the manager here and discussed whether working here was something that was possible first of all, everything was set up and I sat down with one of the other workers and we talked about my job role.
I enjoy working here because the people here are like me, it has given me the confidence I needed to move on to something.
People here understand my disability and it has helped me make others aware so I feel I can take that confidence on with me outside the work place. I feel like I’m well suited here.
While it was Helen’s skills and determination that awarded her the job, she is quick to acknowledge the work of Pure, the 4 Steps to Work programme and the role they played in giving Helen her job.
The 4 Steps programme focused on the skills you have already got, and identifies ways that you can improve, it also shows you how to apply for jobs, how to word things, share ideas with others and has lots of group activities.
I would recommend Pure because I felt a bit isolated, a bit down about what opportunities I would have and felt like it was just me feeling like that, so when I went to Dina’s workshops, I met other people in similar situations and realised there is no reason why any of us should be sat here alone, we can all still be getting on with things.
She is so positive and determined and it rubs off on you. I could voice my own opinion and talk with others and it gave me the direction I needed. I would like to thank Dina for her positive and determined attitude and the Pure Innovations team for all their hard work in supporting me.