A COURAGEOUS mother-of-three from Penycae has been rewarded with a New Deal Achievement Award at a ceremony held in the Holiday Inn near Northop Hall.
Sue Poole, a lone parent who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1997, was determined to get back to work as soon as possible after treatment.
She said: 'It hasn't been easy coping with the illness and being a lone parent but I think it made me more determined to keep working. I thought I would go into the management side of hairdressing, which is what I had done before. 'Then I saw an advert for New Deal for Lone Parents and my personal adviser, Diane Thomas, was so supportive.'
She added: 'I hope my experiences will encourage others to move on and realise that if I can do it with an illness and being a single parent, anyone can, with the help of their personal advisor.'
Sue is now working at Penycae Junior School as a learning support worker and is thoroughly enjoying her new job. She said: 'I'm working with children with special needs and the school has given me a lot of support. You lose your confidence and self-esteem very quickly when you've been out of work for a while.'
And Sue has an extra reason to be pleased about her new role - she's just become engaged to David Sauvage, a teacher at the school.
She said: 'We got engaged on Valentine's Day at the top of Moel Famau, but we haven't set a date for the wedding yet.'
David Jenkins, from Wrexham, is another award winner through New Deal.
He had been unemployed since 1995, keeping himself busy with voluntary work for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. He had begun to think he would never find paid work but when he joined New Deal 25 Plus he was offered a place-ment as a gardener at St Christopher's School. This worked out so well he was offered a contract as a support worker with pupils at the school.
The third Wrexham winner is Derrick Humphreys who was put in touch with several organisations through New Deal 25 Plus and is now enjoying a placement at the British Heart Foundation shop in the town four days a week.
At the award ceremony All the winners were given vouchers and enjoyed the musical entertainment provided by Wrexham band, Temperance.
The three band members are all from Acton and drummer David Morait has himself benefited from the New Deal for Musicians.
He said: 'I was trying to hold down other jobs and do my drumming at the same time but that didn't really work. The help from New Deal meant I could give up my other work, play with the band and teach drums privately. I would recommend it to anyone.'
Graham Godfrey, JobCentre Plus district manager for Wrexham and North Wales Coast, said: 'I would like to congratulate all our winners on their great achievements. This is an excellent example of how the New Deals can help people to achieve their goals and help them to prepare for returning to work.'