Solo mum cooks up some self-employment
Solo mum and beneficiary Shelly Wilson was fed up struggling to find a job, so she has created her own.
After searching for a job on-and-off for three years, the mother of four has parked up in her mother's caravan on the side of the road in Richmond and opened a business - SHellz Kitchen - serving up "one hell of a feed".
Ms Wilson has been selling whitebait sandwiches, mussels, gluten-free carrot cake and other food she prepares, for the past two weeks on Gladstone Rd next to an intersection and service station.
"I'm a mum of four and I want a job so I can still be at home for them after school. At this stage my business is a risk, but it's all I can do. There's nothing else out there," she said.
"I couldn't do a 9am-5pm job unless the kids went into an after school programme, but I want to be there for them," she said.
Ms Wilson's children are aged 6, 10, 14 and 19, but she said there was no employment in Nelson that offered her the job flexibility to also look after her children.
Under the Government's welfare reforms this year sole parents with children aged over five are expected to look and be available for part-time work. Those with children over 14 are expected to look for fulltime work.
"I'm still on the benefit at this stage, but I'm hoping to get off and I hope this helps me do that."
She has done up the caravan, loaned to her by her mother, over two years and at her own expense. At weekends she previously used it to sell food at events, which allowed her to take her children along as well, but she only thought about starting a business when her marriage broke up, about three years ago, and she completed some business courses. They gave her the confidence to look after the finances, said Ms Wilson, who was a "stay-at-home-mum" when she was married.
The stream of customers to SHellz Kitchen had so far been constant, she said, but hoped this would increase coming into summer and as word of mouth grew.
- © Fairfax NZ News