Eiry Phillips is a person with a positive attitude. However, in 2012 Eiry’s resilience was put to the test as she faced a number of health problems which affected her ability to continue with her chosen career as a florist. Eiry suffered from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and after undergoing surgery lost all feeling and movement in both her arms and hands. Unsurprisingly this led to a period of depression. With no confidence and little hope, Eiry joined the Work Programme in 2013 where she met Laura her Employment Adviser.
“Laura and the team saw me at my very worst” said Eiry. “The illness had left me unable to do my job and unable to drive and I had no confidence in myself. Doing everyday tasks was still difficult but I was advised by my physiotherapist that keeping my hands busy was essential to recovery but I just didn’t know what I could do”.
Laura referred Eiry to the Education Programme for Patients (EPP) who work closely with the NHS and offer specialised courses for individuals with long term health conditions. As part of the course they work to rebuild a patient’s confidence by helping them develop new skills and techniques to cope with life changing, debilitating illnesses”. With a good educational background and a CV to match including an NVQ in Bakery and Patisserie, Laura suggested that a voluntary work placement would help ease Eiry back into a working environment.
With all systems go, Eiry completed a six week course with EPP and as her confidence grew she felt ready to undertake a 12 week voluntary placement at Myrtle House in Llanelli.as part of the catering team preparing desserts for the twice weekly lunch club. This was soon followed by a 12 hour Permitted Work contract through ESA and in October 2014 Eiry was offered a 30 hour contract regaining full time sustainable employment as a result.
Eiry made best use of her time working voluntarily at Myrtle House and her commitment was rewarded. She is enjoying every minute of her work at Myrtle House and the Gallery Café in Llanelli.
Although not completely without pain, Eiry is managing her condition well and acknowledges that her life has turned around due to her faith and trust in Laura. She said “Laura had confidence in me and was sure that I could succeed. The EPP programme was just the push I needed and since then I feel that my life has come full circle in a way. Baking was what I was interested in after leaving school and now it’s what I do every day – and better still – I get paid for it!”