Personal reference if you’re generally isolated — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Personal reference if you’re generally isolated

Si_Obhan Member Posts: 34 Courageous
Hi everyone

I left my job almost 2 years ago because I was struggling to commute via trains and buses with my wheelchair during the rail strikes and cancellations. I left my job owing them 40 hours of work from days where I’d got in at lunchtime and had to leave after an hour so I could physically fit on a train. It was almost 30 miles away so a taxi would have been over £150 a day and there’s no way I could afford to pay that out to claim back from AtW. It just wasn’t working for me.

At the same time I had a serious health problem affecting my ability to be at my desk. I had ambulances called to work a couple of times and was generally not managing my condition due to tiredness from 6hrs of travelling on top of a work day and looking after family at home. I remember being in constant pain and crying in the bathroom many times. I still have the condition as treatment is progressing very slowly and ops cancelled and new treatments put forward, but since I’ve been at home I stay on top of tablets and am pleased to say that particular problem hasn’t badly flared up for about 10 months now - before it was every week. It’s still bad but I've been able to read books through the pain and not be in agony. In order for it to stay at bay I stick to a strict diet and don’t do many activities I once enjoyed, and also take 30 tablets every day, religiously on schedule including waking up at 2am to take them. I’ve been doing this for the 10 months since I was last in hospital and I feel like for the first time in 20 years I’m beating it, it isn’t ruling my life any more.

Therefore I feel like now is a good time to to return to work. I feel like I know I don’t have to work as I automatically qualified for ESA and actually, as my husband cannot work at all, we are actually £28 a week better off not working than I was on my last salary. I feel like it would be such a waste for me not to go back to work and do so if I am able. I want a good pension and to not feel like I have to get permission to do anything like save money or go on holiday.

So I found a job which is not dissimilar to stuff I’ve done in the past. its the same salary I was on before. It’s 20 mins away on the bus, and I’ve been offered the job. The only problem is that because it’s with a council they want 2 references, only one of which from a previous employer. I have my last employers reference which will only confirm length of service and I know for a fact because I used to fill the forms out where it says is this a trustworthy person etc, they tick no and put “cannot comment”.

For the personal reference I don’t know what to do. I have no friends now so to speak, only acquaintances I haven’t spoken to in years as I haven’t been outside anywhere other than to hospital. I haven’t been able to volunteer or belong to any groups because I have a young family and have been getting on top of my health. The only thing I could think of doing is asking my adult services social worker but would that be inappropriate? They are pleased that I want to go back to work and wrote me a letter to support my house move when the housing association weren’t satisfied that the adaptations would be enough. It was more of a reference. If they can’t do it I just don’t know what to do. Is an in-law allowed to comment on your character?

It’s making me feel like a failure as a human being that I don’t know one person who I’ve helped in any kind of way. I know they will not be flexible on references, it’s not the recruiters or would be line managers, it’s the HR policy to have 2 verifiable references. I had the same issue with the same council when I was 18 and got a job there but luckily my college tutor wrote me a reference. Currently the only recent learning I’ve done is online certificates just to keep my CV current. Has anyone ever been in this position? What did you do? At the moment my options are:
Get in touch with the job centre, social worker or housing association employment support officer and ask if they will write me a reference? Can they do that if they don’t really know me that well other than to say I’m a responsible person?
Ask my husband’s family member to make something up and write a reference for me? I used to help people with housing benefit claims and have done basic accounting for a family business?
Decline the job offer and do some volunteering in order to have strong references - which I don’t want to do as the job is perfect. I’ve also done house sitting in the past but it’s not really that relevant.
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


  • thespiceman
    thespiceman Member Posts: 6,389 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Si_Obhan   Thank you for your post.

    You could use the following:

    Bank Manager or member of a financial institution.

    Directors of any companies . You do business with.

    Social workers health professionals, support workers, including Doctors.

    Housing Associations including Managers support staff.

    Land lords.

    Council officials .

    Religious figures Vicars, Church Warden or any faiths Rabbi etc.

    School lecturers, Head masters, Tutors.

    Councillors therapists and those medical professionals.

    Hope that helps.

    I would never lie on an reference make assumption be flexible with the truth.

    As it can come back to haunt you.

    Please wish you all the best.

    Please take care.


    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,177 Disability Gamechanger
    Well done you in finding and being offered a job in these difficult times as spiceman says there are more people than you might think who could give you a reference.
    Good luck.
    Be extra nice to new members.
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Congratulations @Si_Obhan and welcome to the community.
    Well done finding a job that fits you so well. Hopefully the list of possible referees above will give you a bit more hope.

    In addition to what was mentioned above, we have some information and advice about references that might be useful to you which I've quoted below:

    Anyone can give you a reference for your first job if they know you and are not a family member. Think about the things you've done in your life and who knows about your skills and what you're like as a person.

    Employers ask for references because they want to find out if you can be trusted, are reliable and can do the job. Anyone can give you a ‘professional’ reference if they know about your skills and achievements. Think about:

    • teachers, lecturers or instructors from school, university or any other type of course
    • work experience managers
    • volunteer managers
    • people who know you who are in paid work
    • people from your community
    • friends.

    Some employers will ask for character references. You can ask anyone who knows you well.

    People who can give you a good reference

    People will be good referees if they:

    • are professionals rather than friends
    • can be contacted easily when you apply for a job
    • have known you for a long time

    Stay in touch with people who can give you a good reference.

    Asking people to give you a reference

    If you think someone could give you a reference, ask them if they’re happy to do this. How you ask depends on your relationship. You can ask friends in person or by text. Ask professionals if you can or send a polite email:

    Dear [name],

    I hope you are well. I am applying for jobs as a [job role] and was wondering if you would act as a referee in my applications? If this is OK, could you please forward me your full contact details? Many thanks for your time.

    Kind regards,

    [your name].

    Most professional people will know about providing references. If you get a job offer, make sure you can give your referees' details such as:

    • phone number
    • address
    • email
    • job title
    • relationship to you.

    And let your referees know to expect a call!

    Community Manager

    Tell us how to make the community better for you. Complete our feedback form.
  • Si_Obhan
    Si_Obhan Member Posts: 34 Courageous
    Thank you for your replies, this is really helpful. Most people I know work in the public sector so would be considered trustworthy for the purposes of a passport application for example, so I can’t see why they wouldn’t be able to give me a reference :)
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Glad to hear it @Si_Obhan. Let us know how you get on!
    Community Manager

    Tell us how to make the community better for you. Complete our feedback form.


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.