We have been talking to trainee Charlie about her time at Nickel. Charlie started with us 6 years ago. As well as doing sessions in our community shop (Interestingly Different) she also does Upcycling and Social media sessions. Charlie is one of our trainees who is in paid employment, who has been employed through the profits generated from our social enterprises.
Before joining Nickel, Charlie struggled with confidence in communicating with other people and would rather spend time alone and at home. Going to the shops on her own and speaking to other people seemed like a real challenge that she would usually avoid. Since joining she has really grown in confidence and will now happily talk to a range of different people.
Through her work at Interestingly Different, Charlie has learnt a range of skills including dealing with customers queries, listing and managing stock online, and taking cash/card payments. Her knowledge of furniture has really improved, as has her terminology when writing item descriptions.
When asked what she likes about Nickel Support she responded.. “It pushes me out of my comfort zone and they support me to do things I wouldn’t or couldn’t do before, like answering the phone for example. They support me and guide me when I’m struggling with something. It feels good when I achieve something I didn't think I could do and encourages me to do other things. I feel proud of myself when I do something I wasn't able to do before.”
Speaking of a time when Charlie realised Nickel was really helping her grow she replied..
“When I realised I had the self belief and confidence to do things myself in the shop without being told how to do it”
Charlie has learnt and grown so much so that she now is able to manage the shop on her own when the manager is out on deliveries.
Alongside supporting Charlie with developing her employment and relationship skills we have done work with her to improve her health.
“Nickel has supported me in learning to make better food choices and encouraged me to batch cook my meals so I can have healthy lunches for the week. To prevent me from grabbing food from the bakery or making unhealthy choices. They have helped me think more about what I eat and I have realised how it affects how I feel”
Like many of us Charlie occasionally has ‘off days’ and feels like she just wants to be at home sometimes. But Nickel gives her somewhere to be and gets her out.
“I’ve learnt that staying home will have an impact on my employment so I force myself to come into work and I know I feel better. I know being around other people and bouncing off their energy helps and there's always people to talk to if I have any worries. The staff have always been there and made it known I can always come and chat about anything if I need to. If I ever have a bit of an off day I know I have people outside my family to speak too.”
She describes Nickel as “It's like having a second family. You know that no matter what, they are going to be there for you”
We are so proud of Charlie and how far she has come since starting Nickel. Not only has she grown so much herself, she is now helping other trainees do the same. Taking the time to chat to them and teach them the skills she has learnt. Her passion for working in the shop and the pride she takes in managing the Etsy shop is clear to see. We look forward to seeing what else she is capable of in the future.