2006 was definitely my year! I had secured a job that I loved; working as a Specialist Consultant with unemployed people. I also bought my first home, and became the youngest Elected Councilor (at that time) in North Tyneside Council. However, in 2008 my company had lost part of its funding and were forced to make some cuts to services, and I was made redundant.
I felt I was back to square one. Having to now 'sign on', brought back bad memories of a past I thought I had left behind for good. I now had to answer to “security guards," and jump through hoops and meet the demands of the jobcentre plus regime. As a new JSA ‘claimant,’ I was made to feel like a scrounger, and the whole 'signing on' process left me feeling totally degraded. I remember being absolutely horrified by how unemployed people (myself included) were being treat.
I soon became quite low in mood, and after months of signing on, and numerous job application rejections; I began to realise that there must be lots of others in my position. People who are out of work through no fault of their own, and yet, are made to feel worthless, lazy, and isolated. It was then that I decided to set up a support group to reach out to those who needed this support.
LEAPS was set up in 2009.