Building Futures Advisory Stories

These stories are from people living in the Big Local SW11 area who have been helped by the Advisory Service.

*We’ve changed their names to keep their confidence

‘John’ aged 40:

Before using the service John’s confidence was shattered and he didn’t think he could get a job. He lost his job in 2013 and had been applying for lots of jobs since, all were rejected.


John has never had a full-time job that lasted any length of time; the longest period of work throughout his life has been about 8 months. He blamed his weak employment history on his health and had a very negative attitude.


The Big Local SW11 advisory service helped him to change his attitude, increase his self-belief, to become job ready and it helped him to secure full-time work. He got help with how to improve his CV, coaching to change his attitude and self-belief, help with goal-setting and selling himself for work.


John said:


“it may sound silly to others but I have been able to get up out of bed each morning, cook, eat better, do housework, go to work, go to the gym and visit family and friends.”


Before, he could manage to only do one task a day and even that was an effort at times. He now gets compliments from people saying how good he looks.

The job he got with the support of Big Local SW11 advisory service has been the longest job he has ever sustained.  It has led to improved health, happiness, attitude and outlook on life.


The Big Local SW11 Advisory Service provides ongoing support to clients. In the first 6 months of his new job this client was experiencing difficulties with work colleagues and he called upon Dustine (the advisor) for advice about the situation. In recent times he has called upon Dustine for advice to do with other work situations and continues to be successful in employment.


‘Sophie’ aged 54


Sophie found the Big Local Advisory service flyer at Katherine Low Settlement. She had financial challenges; she says “I was stressed, confused, had time-management issues, did not have a clear career direction, did not have an up to date CV, was not applying for jobs, lacked confidence and wasn’t assertive!”


This service has helped Sophie to separate her personal issues from her employment issues; improve confidence and self-esteem.  One of the personal issues she was facing was debt so her advisor sign posted her to a debt advice service. Dealing with her debt issues helped her to find space to focus on a career and returning to work. Sophie said:


“Taking control of my debts made me take control of other areas of my life – I could concentrate on developing my CV, apply for voluntary roles, and reduced my stress.”


Sophie told us:

“I have experienced patience and lack of judgement with not arriving on time for appointments – with talking honestly and openly about why this was happening over a period of time and how this behaviour projected to a potential employer, I have been able to understand and change my behaviour and arrive on time and also early.”


“The service has helped to facilitate and think through different styles of working according to my needs, for example, my inability to currently return to full-time work because of my mental health needs; the service has helped me to look at options around part-time work and self-employment whilst encouraging me to challenge my boundaries/self-limitations and think outside the box.”


“I am aware of similar services provided by the National Careers Service at the Job Centre, the DWP work programme and a local mental Health Charity.  Whilst they are all good services, I do not feel that any of them provided the level of support and engagement that I needed in order to get me ready to return to work.  In each appointment, I was able to air and offload my current anxieties and celebrate my achievements and that has helped me to map my progress and build my confidence.”


Since using the Big Local SW11 advisory service Sophie has undertaken various training and voluntary work and did some small business work in the health industry.




“My experience with the Big Local SW11 advisor helped me to find the right direction toward a new career goal. I really needed this kind of help, as a mother of 2 I didn’t know where to turn. Now I can see where to go and the next step forward.”


“I was surprised that this BLSW11 service existed, I was approached by the advisor in York Gardens library and told about it. The advisory service is very good, before it I felt lost and lonely but now feel very supported and not alone. I have learnt a lot of things about CV, job searching, volunteering and courses.”


Since meeting with the advisor Janet has been recruited by two organisations for part-time bank work, has an up to date CV and help with getting the right studies and voluntary work to pursue her long term goals.



Big Local SW11 and Battersea Alliance are all about strengthening our community by local residents and organisations working together to decide and create what we want for Battersea.