Launching his new venture has given 64-year-old Clive Taylor a growing list of ‘grave commitments’ but he says that he couldn’t be happier because he is providing a much needed service to the residents of Bolton.
 
Just a few months ago, unemployed Clive had lost his home and was living out of a suitcase. After being jobless for two years he sought help from the Working Well (Work and Health Programme) which provides tailored support to individuals with disabilities and health conditions who are seeking employment.
 
Now, after being supported to launch his business initiative, he has been inundated with requests from new customers for his services - Clive offers graveside renovations for families who want the last resting place of their loved ones to be well maintained.
 
“I feel very proud that I am doing something that is so worthwhile and gives such comfort to the relatives of the deceased,” said Clive, who had a previous career as a lorry driver until ill health forced him to leave his job. “I had virtually given up hope of ever finding employment again at my age. My self-confidence was at rock bottom and I was very depressed as everything was going wrong in my life. I was used to earning a wage, owning my own home and enjoying regular holidays.”
 
REGAINING SELF-WORTH
Clive from Kearsley was referred by Kay Fraser at Jobcentre Plus in Bolton to Working Well (Work and Health Programme), an employment support scheme delivered in Greater Manchester by Ingeus. It is an initiative commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and receives support from the European Social Fund.
 
After meeting with Adam Lasania, his personal advisor at Working Well (Work and Health Programme), Clive engaged with a series of motivational sessions and was advised on how to improve his mental wellbeing. He also attended IT workshops to improve his computer skills.
 
“I was at my lowest ebb when I met Adam. I had been diagnosed with a sleep disorder which meant that I could not be a lorry driver again,” added Clive. “The team helped me to regain my self-worth and encouraged me with my business venture.  I got the idea when I was helping a friend to tidy up a family grave. A visitor to the churchyard asked if we could help them.
 
“I’m able to offer a respectful maintenance service and I’m working towards generating an income to eventually become financially self-sufficient.”
 
Clive is now promoting his business ‘Graves Taylored ’ on Facebook and highlights that he installs a border around the grave, cleans the head stone and lays a ground sheet topped with a layer of artificial turf.
 
“It’s wonderful to be able to provide a service and know that my efforts are appreciated,” ended Clive.