When Christine Gough’s husband sadly passed away her world fell apart. She had been his carer for years, and alongside the emotional heartbreak she was feeling she had the additional worry of dealing with a massive change in her financial situation too. Here, neighbourhood coach Gemma Davis takes up the story.

“Because of her tragic change in circumstances, Chris had to apply for Universal Credit – which in turn meant that she was expected to look for work. Grieving for her husband, and faced with the daunting prospect of finding a job after so long as a carer, Chris found herself really struggling to cope.

“I spent time getting to know Chris and we started working together to ensure that she was well equipped to manage her home and finances by herself. By spending time with Chris, and always trying to be a positive influence on her, we started focusing on the things that made her happy. We gradually shifted the conversation away from the negatives in her life and started looking at what was good, what she enjoyed and what she was good at.

“I soon realised that Chris loved cooking and baking and she told me how she made meals for her parents and daughter. Many a time I’d visit and there was a freshly baked cake on the side – and sometimes I was even lucky enough to have a little nibble.

“Noticing how Chris’s face would light up when she talked about cooking, and knowing that she was struggling financially, I suggested that she might consider starting her own little business. I explained about YouCan and how they offer grants of up to £300 to help get ideas off the ground.

“Within no time Chris had decided that she was going to set up a business selling her products from home. She applied for the grant so she could complete her food hygiene qualification and to help start her up with the items that she needed.

“Chris received the grant and has done what she said she would. She’s completed her food hygiene course, set up a Facebook page and had leaflets promoting her business designed and printed – meaning that Grub to Go is now open for orders. She cooks homemade, wholesome meals and desserts for the older people in her community who may struggle to cook for themselves.

“What a difference £300 and a bit of positivity can make to someone’s life. Chris is now earning her own money, is happy and is in control of her life.”

If you’ve been inspired by Christine’s story, why not apply for a YouCan grant yourself? Click here to find out more.