A YOUNG Greenock girl has told how she overcame mental health problems to move back into a job thanks to a special project.

Gemma Kelly found herself out of work for two years as she battled anxiety and depression.

Her life changed when she got involved with the government's Fair Start Scotland initiative - delivered by Wise Group - which helps people get into work.

Gemma found encouragement and support from the team at Fair Start delivery partners, Street League, who set up work experience in a local café for her.

Thanks to this support, Gemma's mental health improved and she is now working at McDonald's.

The 21-year-old said: "I’ve always wanted to work with people and pictured myself working somewhere I speak to people every day.

"Working with Jan and Lee at Street League meant I was able to talk openly about my anxiety and helped me find ways to cope.

"Soon I started to feel ready to explore my options to return to work.

"Fair Start has really helped me to build my confidence and go for the job I really wanted.”

Gemma received further support, taking part in group work and one-to-one sessions to build her confidence.

When the offer of an interview came in from McDonald’s, Gemma was prepared having had plenty of practice with mock interviews.

She was successful and started her new job at the drive through in October.

Sean Duffy, who is the chief executive of the Wise Group, hopes Gemma's story will encourage others to seek help.

He said: "Fair Start Scotland has given Gemma the tools to help her overcome her anxiety and helped her to gain vital experience in an industry she loves.

"I’d urge anyone thinking about taking those important first steps towards work to give Fair Start Scotland a shot.”

To find out how Fair Start Scotland can help, call the team on 0300 303 33814 or send an email to fairstart@thewisegroup.co.uk.

Or for more information about Fair Start Scotland in the West, go to www.thewisegroup.co.uk/fairstart.