Project name: Life Works
Life Works is a partnership between the Footprints and Parkstone United Reformed Church, offering training, volunteer opportunities and work experience to vulnerable people including ex-offenders and people suffering from mental health or addiction problems, providing a pathway to employment and increased social inclusion.
In 2018, we completed the construction of a small workshop allowing us to offer training including plumbing and woodwork. Participants develop these skills volunteering with the team, refurbishing local businesses and community spaces. Participants are supported to address any barriers to employment such as housing, family and relationship problems, mental health issues and money and benefit issues. We reimburse participants’ travel and provide them with a shared lunch to increase social contact. Participants can also participate in social events provided by other partner agencies for free, including bee keeping, paddle boarding, pottery and equine therapy sessions.
How the £50,000 grant will help
The reach and impact of our project is currently limited due to:
- staff resources. Currently we must choose between delivering off-site work or providing the courses. This limits the number of participants we can support and slows down their progress. The grant would enable us to deliver both services at the same time, more than doubling the number of participants that we could support. As we train more people, we will be able to increase off-site work opportunities, also increasing the sustainability of the project.
- the size and availability of the workshop. We currently run training in plumbing and woodwork, however the plumbing course had to be undertaken in a polytunnel which is not possible for the majority of the year. We want to deliver further courses including tiling, and bricklaying but cannot run these in our space. We currently train people "on the job" which can lead to quality issues. We want to rent a warehouse to expand our training courses and woodwork shop. The space would be kept as flexible as possible, with training "rooms" on wheelable bases that will be stored when other courses are delivered. The new premises would overcome these issues.