Helen Belton has her dream job, working with animals and doing a bit of gardening. But eighteen months ago things were not looking so good for her.

Helen had been out of work and realised she had barriers to employment. Reduced sight and hearing, anxiety and depression, saw her referred to Workbridge, an organisation that specialises in finding employment for people with illnesses or disabilities. They worked alongside her to find employment that suited her.

“I got my dream job,” says Helen.

Charlotte Botha, of Spring Grove Kennels, approached Workbridge after interviewing five or six people without finding someone she felt would be able to help her run the kennels.

“It’s so important that I get the right person because they need to be able to see which dogs will get along with each other. Otherwise, we would end up with a dog fight,” says Charlotte.

Charlotte said Helen interviewed well and is beautiful and enthusiastic.

“Helen remembers the animals’ names and their temperaments and has totally worked out perfectly,” says Charlotte.

Helen’s days are spent with the animals and cleaning up their spaces. One great part of the job is exercising the dogs in the swimming pool. She can have up to 15 dogs in the pool at one time, so really does need to know which dogs mix well together.

Helen said she is the happiest she has been in the past fifteen years. She still has her moments but is more stable than she has been for a long time.

“Getting this job is like my dream come true,” says Helen.

It’s pretty much a dream come true for the Workbridge staff too, as they work hard to see people settled into a job they love. They work with clients for two years, from teaching interview skills to supporting them for a year after placement.

“Our role isn’t just finding them a job that suits them, it’s supporting them in their placement so they will be successful in the future,” says Workbridge employment consultant Andy Pippen.

Helen is just one of their success stories, many of which they share on their weekly radio programme Beyond the Bridge, which is on Fresh FM Tuesday at 9.30 am.

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