One in a Million: Cilla Tihakanelo

Cilla Tihakanelo is one in a million.

The mother-of-four is a care home nurse and has come to appreciate the support of Crea8ing Careers, which has received a £5,000 grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation. Here’s her story:

Cilla came to the UK 15 years ago from her homeland in Botswania and made a life for herself in Birkenhead, meaning she has no family support here.

Today she’s juggling her life as a single mother-of-four together with her job as a care home nurse.

The 44-year-old said Crea8ing Careers has become part of her extended family in her hour of need 

Sharing her own experiences Cilla said: “I have so many examples of how Crea8ing Careers has helped me. When my eldest daughter was stranded away from home at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, they were able to provide me with the funds for a train fare home.

“Because of my work as a care home nurse I was struggling to get baby milk for my two-year-old or Easter eggs for my children, as I couldn’t get to the shops and once again Crea8ing Careers stepped in.

“Then my microwave, tumble dryer and teenage daughter’s bed all broke at the same time. I was worried at how I would cover the cost of replacing them because finances are tricky but they arranged for a bed through their community connections, bought me a microwave and helped me sort out a dryer.”

Cilla has also taken a parenting course through Crea8ing Careers, to support her son.

“I have never really had any kind of emotional support and although it’s what they do, it feels more like an extended family and friendship,” she said. “It just feels like there is someone there for you, no matter what.

“There is a sense of no judgement. Having three teenage children and a toddler isn’t easy at the best of times, but particularly difficult with this crisis. Having their support just makes the difference.

“Crea8ing Careers has been a saving grace. Covid-19 is really scary and you feel isolated. I can’t thank them enough.”

Crea8ing Careers work with around 100 existing service users and their families. This is through existing welfare checks, providing basic essentials, WhatsApp support groups and virtual coffee mornings and evening social events.

The majority of users are dealing with a range of issues, including mental health, childcare or unemployment and children with additional needs. 

Others are part of vulnerable groups dealing with issues such as domestic violence, alcohol and substance misuse.

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