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Building Better Opportunities - Good News Story - Stephen Tolley

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small local projects. Building Better Opportunities is a National Lottery and ESF funded project designed to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion throughout Worcestershire, and is proud to tell you of the story of Stephen Tolley.

Steve’s mother made the initial enquiry to Vestia to investigate whether there were any provisions to support her son in his search for work. At their first meeting, they were advised of the various methods of support offered by Vestia and it was decided that Building Better Opportunities (BBO) route would best suit his needs.

Steve had limited work experience and very little confidence so during the first few sessions, the team focused on talking about his skills and strengths to build this, and in turn put together a CV which he was very proud of. Once he felt ready, a volunteering placement was found that would suit his practical skills as a General Assistant at The Civic Hall in Stourport. He attended four days a week to help with gardening, painting and decorating, and moving furniture to set up the hall for their different events.

Since attending this placement, Steve’s confidence has grown enormously from his first meeting where he struggled to make eye contact. He really enjoys his volunteering and there has been a real change in him since taking this on. The Volunteer Co-ordinator has written a glowing report, proving to Steve how valuable he has been to them. Feeling proud of himself, he is continuing to search for paid employment and is now a BBO Ambassador, and happily helps them to promote the support that Building Better Opportunities has to offer.

Grateful for the support provided by BBO, Steve remarked: “I feel I am starting to come out of my shell now and I enjoy my voluntary work and want to continue with it.”

If you, or anyone you know, would benefit from the support of a dedicated Job Coach, who will work with you to build on your own strengths and abilities to gain the confidence and skills to move into work, then please get in touch; we are waiting to hear from you. Contact us on 01562 733133 or email

Published - 09 Mar 2018

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