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Golding's Personal Development Grant helped me on the road to success

Monika Personal Development Grant Jan 19

As Golding Homes resident Monika reached the end of her maternity leave, she knew she had a decision to make.

Monika needed to work to help support her family, but with daughter Lena then less than a year old, she also wanted to spend time at home with her newest family member.

Now, thanks to a Golding Homes personal development grant, Monika’s new business Help Me Monika is growing steadily and making a valuable contribution to the family budget.

She recalled that while spending time with Lena was the main reason behind wanting to stay at home, the cost of daytime child care was also an issue. “I had done the sums, and by the time I had paid someone else to look after Lena while I worked as a teaching assistant at the local school, I would have ended up about £5 a day better off,” she said.

The answer for the well-qualified 33 year-old with a Masters Degree in English Philology and a post-graduate qualification in specialist translation was to try her hand at self-employment, but that carried a risk.

“I knew I would need to advertise my business and take out public liability insurance in case someone had an accident in my home, and there were other costs which meant I would have to find £200 or more just to get started,” she said.

Although that was an outlay the family couldn’t really afford, Monika, who recently moved into a Golding Homes flat in Barming, began to investigate the options in the hope that she could pursue her dream.

She remembered that her Golding Homes’ welcome pack had included a leaflet offering residents support from the association’s employment advisors, and so she got in touch with Penny Lowe in the Workwise team.

“Monika asked me for advice on self-employment and I could see that her idea of offering English lessons and translations had a lot of potential,” Penny said. “I suggested applying for one of our personal development grants and we agreed that paying for flyers and business cards and insurance would help get her business off to a flying start.”

A few months later Monika has already signed up a number of clients for English lessons and is providing a valuable translation service. She works mainly in the evenings and can do her preparation at home while still caring for Lena. She also takes the toddler to a number of daytime mother and baby groups and loves the flexibility of self-employment.

“The grant and the support from Penny at Golding Homes was really, really fantastic,” she commented. “I was thinking carefully about whether or not I could afford to try self-employment, but the grant took away most of the risk. It meant that I could set myself up in business and have a go without making a big dent in the household income. I’m very grateful to Golding Homes for helping me.”

Monika’s hard work has now paid off, with Help Me Monika proving a great success. She is offering tutoring in English and mathematics for youngsters as well as helping adults with specialist business and legal English and a translation service.

Personal development grants are available to anyone who lives in a Golding Homes property and are considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must be receiving a state benefit at the time they apply. For a full list of the qualifications, or to apply