Catharine Ramage has come a long way since the launch of ‘Catharine Ramage Editorial’. Feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of the benefits system, Catharine was unable to pursue her lifelong business-dream or reach her true professional potential. Now, with support from Better Off Finance, Money Marvels and Enterprise Hub, the only way is up for Catharine.
Having left her teaching job due to illness in 2011, Catharine was more or less unemployed for 7 years receiving job seekers allowance and feeling unable to access the support she really needed to progress.
Catharine joined the Better Off Finance programme, which supports people to improve their financial capability and prepare and progress into sustainable employment, or access training opportunities. Feeling anxious whenever she tried to look in to her finances alone, Better Off Finance ensured Catharine was utilising the support she was eligible for, as well as helping her to assess her monthly outgoings and work out where she could become more financially savvy.
With her key worker’s support, Catharine managed to save £100 a month; “I really feel like he has given me tools for life to maximise my income and minimise my outgoings, I always tended to bury my head when it came to this stuff – now I have the confidence to find and negotiate better deals for monthly necessities”.
Regaining control of her personal finances, Catharine felt empowered to begin thinking about employment opportunities and the next step forward. Often the scariest thing about pursuing a business-dream is the reality of becoming a business-owner. Catharine knew her passion but didn’t believe she had the enterprise skills or experience to turn that passion into a business – and that’s where Enterprise Hub came in.
Better Off Finance made Catharine aware of the business start-up support available throughout the Liverpool City Region, when she decided to contact The Women’s Organisation. Catharine said: “I had a couple of business ideas but didn’t know where to start. My adviser helped me to see that I have skills that can be utilised in a home business and gave me confidence to know that I could do it. She was fantastic at explaining the nuts and bolts of how to start a business and how to market yourself on social media.”
Coming out of the other side, Catharine is now an editor and proof-reader able to bring written work to publishing standard. She has edited documents for a variety of academic journals and textbooks and written several educational textbooks for children learning English; “I am now a business-owner running my own editorial business from home – Enterprise Hub has allowed me to achieve this in less than a year”. The biggest mark of success for Catharine is that she will now be able to buy her own house, a dream she had once given up on when claiming benefits.
Looking back on her journey, Catharine credits the support system of both Better Off Finance and Enterprise Hub: “both of my mentors made me feel like they really cared about helping me to improve my situation – not that they were just ticking boxes or trying to ‘push’ me back into work. They both took the time to understand my circumstances and give me a personalised service.”
What does Catharine say to anyone thinking of contacting Better Off Finance or Enterprise Hub? “Do it! I feel really lucky to live in a city where these services are available to me.”
If you’d like to find out more about Better Off Finance or Enterprise Hub, contact us on 0151 706 8111 and speak to a member of our Engagement Team.