The Coronavirus pandemic has devastated many sectors, none more so than the hospitality sector. Prior to the global pandemic, Fiona worked as a catering manager at Hereford and Worcester Racecourses run by Arena Racing Company (ARC) and was made redundant due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on the racing industry.
With no job and a daughter to support, Fiona received COVID-19 financial grants from Racing Welfare and went on to receive guidance through the Careers Advice and Training Service (CATS) to help her get back on her feet. She says:
“I was put on furlough in April 2020 and I was made redundant in November 2020. I contacted my local Welfare Officer, Nicky, who was fantastic. I was able to receive the COVID-19 grant based on the fact that I had the reduction of income and was made redundant.
“It came at a crucial time, I had a 20% reduction in my income straight away and then lost my job. My daughter is only ten and we hit a point where we were going into winter with no boiler, for me it was an absolute lifesaver.”
“The whole process of receiving the grants was really, really simple. You have that one point of contact at Racing Welfare and it gives you that little bit of confidence to have these conversations that you wouldn’t usually have. You automatically start to introvert when things go wrong in life and you can smile as much as you want on the outside but it doesn’t mean everything is okay.”
This pivotal boost in life meant Fiona felt motivated to seek support through CATS which led her back to working life at ARC but in a different role:
“It is completely different to anything I’ve ever done before in my life! I did workshops to learn about transferable skills that I could take to another job and as of four weeks ago I went back to Arena Race Company in a completely different role so I’m now a business coordinator.
“It was so comfortable going back and it feels like I’ve never been away. I know the key teams so it has been easy to adapt. Everything I know (in hospitality) is closed at the moment so that’s where the focus on the transferable skills comes in.
“It’s great to know that all of these resources are available through Racing Welfare for ARC staff. It makes you want to go back because you had that support there in the first place – you feel valued and you want to give some loyalty back.”
For more information or if you are struggling financially do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 6300 443. The support line is open 24/7 and is fully confidential.
You can visit the Careers Advice and Training Service website for information on careers courses.