Regents Place Community Fund – halfway update

By Sam Forsdike | May 22 2019

Regents Place Community Fund – halfway update

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    We were thrilled to receive funding through the Regents Place Community Fund towards the running of our Employment Support Pathway which is designed to provide vital support to guests of our winter night shelter with their employment needs.

    The first aspect of the Employment Support Pathway is our Jobs Club. This is a fixed programme that guests of the shelter are able to access every Wednesday morning to focus on developing their job-ready skills and searching for appropriate employment, training, volunteering and educational opportunities.

    Each guest accessing the Jobs Club is paired with an individual volunteer mentor who commits to supporting them on their journey. The volunteer mentors are recruited from local businesses and trained by C4WS to be able to provide this vital assistance. This winter we have received 34 volunteers from Network Rail, Skanska, Siemens, ASOS, Wellcome, Debenhams, Atkins, Getty, Accenture, Santander and Regents Place itself!

    The mentors work through our Jobs Club Workbook programme which includes chapters on Goal Setting, how to Search for Opportunities, Creating a CV, Preparing for Interviews, Starting Work and Budgeting. Mentors are crucial in helping guests understand the processes needed to obtain their goals, break down the requirements into manageable sections and create a pathway towards achieving those goals.

    The Jobs Club opened at the start of November 2018 and ran through until the end of March 2019. During this time 55 guests used the Jobs Club and 231 mentoring appointments happened – this was over double the number of mentoring appointments we ran the previous winter which is testament to the demand for Jobs Club!

    Of those who were eligible and looking for work, 74% successfully obtained paid employment. This ranged from being a Host at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel to becoming a designer at Ted Baker and working in a Nursery to becoming a digger at HS2. But Jobs Club also provides much needed support for those not able to work. Perhaps someone has a disability or is an asylum seeker. Our belief is that hopefully their future situation might change where they are allowed or are able to be in employment and in the meantime we can help them access relevant training to build their skills or start volunteering as a way of culturally orientating themselves to the requirements of working in the UK, building networks, improving their English and confidence. Through this aspect of Jobs Club we helped an Iranian tailor find work volunteering for an organisation that offers suits to men who have interviews but can’t afford clothing and a young Ethiopian gentleman to start volunteering as a football coach for his local youth team.

    This captures the bespoke, personalised nature of the Jobs Club which is driven by what individuals want to achieve and providing a wraparound service to support them with achieving these objectives. The talent and potential of those accessing the Jobs Club has been overwhelming and we have been proud to be able to assist people with using these skills and building upon them to create stable foundations for their future and future hopes.

    During these last few months we have also been able to build on our partner work creating even more relationships with employers, training providers and educational institutions so as to short-cut routes into these for appropriate guests. Renewing existing partnerships with organisations like the Pret Foundation, King’s Cross Recruit and King’s Cross Construction Skills Centre has been as wonderful as developing new relationships with organisations like Change Please, Bower Cross and Ted Baker.

    With the shelter now closed we are continuing to support those who accessed the Jobs Club with their goals. We always love celebrating someone getting a new job but the next challenge is sustaining that. Being able to maintain and develop your working life is a key aspect of preventing a return to homelessness and over the next few months we will be using the funding from Regent’s Place Community Fund to build in extra support through the aftercare mentoring part of the Employment Support Programme to ensure this.

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Sam Forsdike