Following a painful divorce years earlier, Anne-Lie spent eight years raising two daughters while working as a psychiatric care worker. Eventually she suffered ‘burn-out’ and depression, forcing her to quit her job. However, after being selected by a European Social Fund (ESF) project, she was able to overcome this difficult time, changed her job and is now the proud and happy owner of a small grocery shop specialized in cheeses.
The Sustainable Health programme was specifically designed for former female care workers on long-term sick leave, with the aim of giving them the skills and knowledge needed to find a new job and a fresh start. To help them in their recovery, project leaders work with each person individually, allowing participants to adjust at their own pace.
Struggling to cope
Anne-Lie quit school at 16 and spent almost 30 years as a psychiatric care worker. During this time she endured a turbulent marriage and divorce, which resulted in her bringing up two daughters alone. The stress finally caught up with her in 2002 and after taking a month off work, she was back on sick leave within a fortnight of returning.
After this, she stopped working for three years until one day a letter came offering her a place on the programme. Despite being skeptical, she decided to go for it.
Describing the experience, Anne-Lie explains “Not everyone understands. There’s a tendency to rush people. But thanks to the support from the EU, the project leaders could take their time. That's why I'm here today, and feeling well.”
“But thanks to the support from the EU, the project leaders could take their time. That's why I'm here today, and feeling well.”
She started to develop a new business plan one step at a time, gradually putting in place what would become ‘Anne-Lie’s Ost & Delikatess’. She now proudly talks about how well her business is doing, “In the weeks before Christmas there were five people working here. I get new customers every day”.
Giving back is clearly important to her. She now employs a fellow recovering care worker in her grocery shop, keen to help those going through what she did.
Summing it up she says, “I feel so happy now, and I enjoy being my own boss. I wish everyone could have the same opportunities I have had”.
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