Originally from Worcestershire, Alison Tysom, moved to Deanshanger, South Northamptonshire, as a teenager when her father moved jobs. She settled in the village with her three children, but with Alison’s youngest having special needs, he needed a room of his own so the three bedroomed house they lived in just wasn’t suitable.
In September 2018 Alison and her family were delighted when Grand Union Housing Group offered them a four-bedroomed house in Towcester.
Alison, 38, says: “This is the best move I’ve ever made.
“I don’t drive so it’s great that we’re near to the shops and supermarkets. There’s a leisure centre nearby and we’re close to the park where we can walk our dog, Milo.
“The neighbours are really lovely! All four houses in our block, that’s 22 of us, spent Christmas day together – we hired the football club and all brought something to eat.
“My eldest son is happy here and more relaxed, and my daughter has settled in well at school and made new friends.
“As for the youngest, he thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread! He has more freedom here and if he tries hard at school he gets to choose a weekend treat, like swimming or a trip to McDonald’s.
“But now the kids are settled it’s my time. I want to do something for me; get out of the house and have my own space. I would like a job during school term time though, as I still need to be around for my youngest at the moment.
“Kelly Ednie, Community Development Officer at Grand Union, told me about the careers advice service she offers. We talked about my needs and she made some suggestions as to how I could boost my employability skills. I was put in touch with Amie Towler, Digital Inclusion Officer, who encouraged me to sign up to some online courses and loaned me a laptop so I could do them.
“I was a receptionist before I was a full-time mum. I’m used to using a computer so I thought online courses were a great idea.
“The first course I did was a Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene for Catering course in November. Then I did Safeguarding Children in Education, which I found quite difficult.
“My next course was Emergency First Aid at Work which I really enjoyed as it was practical and hands-on. I learnt how to use a defibrillator and now feel confident to handle a medical emergency if one were to happen.
“The last course I did was a Midday Supervisor course in January and I was over the moon to achieve a Higher Distinction!
“I’d like to do a couple more courses, especially the higher level of safeguarding as my aim is to get a job as a midday supervisor. My ultimate goal is to become a teaching assistant.
“Kelly and Amie at Grand Union are absolutely fantastic. They’ve really helped me. If ever I’ve got a question they always come back to me quickly. It’s great that they’re now looking for a suitable work placement for me that fits around my children.
“Moving here has really opened up a whole lot of new opportunities for us.”