Jenny found out about Essex Carers the Way to Work, a project jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, after a search on the internet as she was looking for some help in relation to the care of her son. She was able to contact the Keyworker for her area and made enquiries how the project could help her.
Her Keyworker, Paul, met with her in her home in Chelmsford and discussed her current situation and her future aspirations. Her son, John, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with Asperger’s syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). John was unable to access mainline or specialist schools so Jenny has home educated him over the last 4 years. To do this she had to reduce her hours in her role in HR for a leading aircraft manufacturer, eventually leave and took a job as a part-time cleaner in order to facilitate her son’s education and care.
Unfortunately, her son’s care and education meant that she had to leave this role too and had only Carers Allowance as a source of income. Jenny is a lone parent as her marriage broke down when her son was very small. A subsequent relationship failed too because of the pressures and challenges of her domestic situation. A study into autism has revealed that the parents have a 60% incidence of divorce.
Jenny herself has her own health challenges. She is epileptic and also lives with the effects of fibromyalgia. She controls her conditions with medication but of course because of her epilepsy she is unable to drive and relies completely on public transport and the kindness of her family.
In a strange twist of fate, when struggling to look for help in legal matters over her son’s education she realised there was a void where she expected to find support and advice. Completely overwhelmed by the legal complexities she actually found herself enjoying the struggle and felt compelled to help others in a similar situation.
Jenny discussed this absence of support with Paul. Together they explored how Jenny could use her experience in helping others like her. They discovered an online course run by IPSEA which covers subjects such as explaining the legal processes involved in the education of children with special educational needs. Paul was able to obtain funding from the Essex Carers the Way to Work Project and Jenny has just started her studies. Jenny has such determination to provide her son with the best education that meets his needs and to help other parents in similar circumstances.
Jenny has written to thank Paul for his help:
"I’m so blessed to have received such help and I cannot explain how truly appreciative I am. Taking these courses really will make a huge difference to our lives in the not so distant future. My hope, as you know, is that it will also make a difference to other families’ lives too. I just can’t wait to get started".
We wish Jenny every success, but we are certain her own drive will ensure it.
Do you have a Caring role for a friend or loved one? Could you use our help? Contact us to find out more about the support we can offer you, including respite, access to funds, and more.