In these difficult times, I think for most of us our homes are a vital sanctuary – providing a reassuring port in the Covid storm and a place of much needed safety. So it is hard to consider the plight of people without a secure home, and those who are living on Bristol streets right now. It is with much pride that this update comes with a spotlight on our ESL MoveIn MoveOn MoveUp programme which is being delivered through a fantastic collaboration across ESL teams and with our valued partner agencies.
Since July, Richard Davies (Community Learning Development Worker) Hayden Berry and Simon Bayliss (Future Bright Career Coaches) have been working with 35 homeless people, providing a face-to-face and blended service to help build confidence, skills, employment and independence. Each learner engaged has been issued with a free tablet and internet bundle so that they can job search and interact with our online offerings. The team has met participants one to one to get them online and signed up to google accounts so that they are digitally confident. There is close multi agency working with a wide range of specialists (WRAMAS, St Mungoes, Golden Key, BDP, Housing and Homelessness teams, Social Care team, Language Line etc ).
At our Whole ESL Team meeting this week, we heard a moving account and case study of a learner that has benefited from the programme – we’re calling him Igor (not his real name). Igor was temporarily rehoused at the Travel Lodge. He is deaf – only speaking Russian sign language – and experiences physical & emotional health concerns following a hate crime in the UK. As reported by the project team: ‘Our first task was to engage in specialist disability support alongside our own career coaching, which we did through the Bristol Centre For the Deaf. An Access to Work application was completed (in work support for Disabled people), followed by an application and interview to work at Amazon, involving Russian sign language. Igor was successful and is working now – he’s over the moon. Key to his growing independence are the links forged with the deaf community which has helped improve his social life and support network’.
There are now a cluster of similar amazing case studies and stories as the team get into their stride (below). Like the one above, all cases have needed a multi-agency approach and faced many challenges due to covid restrictions involving many hours of input. Based on this early success, we’ve just had good news that the DWP are awarding us £70,000 to expand this programme so we can work with a minimum of 70 homeless people over the coming year. Well done Richard, Hayden and Simon – and to everyone involved in this amazing work and for the positive outcomes you’ve achieved.