As the Connecting Opportunities project comes to an end, the team have collated case studies of project participants to share. One of these case studies is Toya’s journey with Connecting Opportunities. Read on to find out more.

Getting started

When Toya first joined the Connecting Opportunities project in May 2022, she was an asylum-seeker with the right to work jobs on the shortage occupation list in the UK. She was proactive and keen to find opportunities, but she just needed a little help to get started.

  “Before I joined Connecting Opportunities my life had no direction, I was not focused or looking forward to anything, I was at a point where I gave up on myself. But the chance I was given by CO was like another chance to life.”

– CO Champion

Soon after joining the project, Toya interviewed to volunteer as a CO champion and got the position! The CO champion lead said:

“Toya has progressed really well since I met her. She was shy and apprehensive, but now takes on new challenges with surety and confidence.

She didn’t have a solid plan for her future but now knows where she wants to be and how she can get there. She has built in contingencies too, so her future is looking really positive.

I’m so glad to have met her!”

Toya said:

“The responsibilities we were given really gave us a sense of belonging, that we were part of a family that continued to support us to thrive.

Being a CO champion has pushed me to come out of my shell, it has made me realise that I am able to achieve anything I put my mind to. “

Toya’s key worker sent her information on local activities, Leeds Baby bank, and her local food bank, and helped Toya write responses to requests for information from Toya’s solicitor, to support her asylum claim.

They also managed to acquire a desktop computer for Toya through the charity Solidaritech:

“that completely changed my life as I started to learn more and practice more using Microsoft, typing business plans, creating logos and websites”

Beauty Course

When Toya received the right to work in jobs outside of the shortage occupation list, she thought about what jobs she would enjoy doing. She wanted to find a job that she could fit around her life as a single parent to her young son.

Toya and her keyworker looked at lots of different beauty schools in Leeds, and Toya chose one where she could have face-to-face classes. CO paid for Toya to attend a 3-day “Complete Lash and Brow Course” at The Beauty Academy in Leeds, which Toya passed with flying colours!

“The beauty course I did to be a full certified Lash Technician was a bit of a challenge as a single mother to achieve at the beginning, but Connecting Opportunities financially supported me throughout the course”

Toya showed incredible commitment to setting up her business, so CO paid for a year of professional insurance and all the gear that Toya needed to start her business, including a beauty therapy chair for clients.

Self-employment sessions

Toya attended sessions at Migration Yorkshire to learn about being self-employed in the UK.

“These helped so much as I was able to know the ins and outs of running a successful business. Life has become much easier for me since I became self employed as I have more time to care for my autistic son. I have also gained more confidence in myself.

I feel driven and very focused, for the first time I am looking forward to starting a new year 2023 on a SUCCESSFUL note.”

“The opportunities and doors they have helped me open in my life woke me up from the bad dream I was living. I look forward to tomorrow everyday of my life which is something I never used to do, I am so grateful to Connecting Opportunities, so thankful and I will forever cherish them as they made realise the full potential of Toya Morei.

The encouragement and support we get from Connecting Opportunities has motivated me to keep yearning for more and I am now a proud business owner of Toya M Beauty Studios.”

Connecting Opportunities is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.