In the sections below you will find some of the case studies being produced by our Anchor Partners. Through the case studies we are identifying and sharing good practice across the partnership as well as conducting ongoing evaluation of the impact of the project on both participants and the wider communities in which they live.
The first case studies showcase the work of our individual Anchor Partners, followed by some specific participant case studies.
The final sections showcase the work which cuts across all of the delivery on the West of England Works project.
Case studies are updated regularly so please check back here from time to time to see the latest news.
Please select a heading to view the case studies.
Anchor Partners Case Studies
More partners operate in Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) than the list above suggests. Many of our larger partners from other regions – Business in the Community and the Prince’s Trust, for example – also run activities within B&NES. WoEW has been instrumental in encouraging partners to make new connections that extend their skill sets and their reach.
Developing Health & Independence
Developing Health & Independence (DHI) helps disadvantaged people and those living on the margins of society turn their lives around. For DHI, proof of the effectiveness of the WoEW project is that participants continue to come back to it even after they’ve moved into work. WoEW has given DHI the resources to offer more intensive personalised support and to run an extra weekly drop-in session. As a result, 400% more recovering drug and alcohol users have had access to support for employment and training.
With WoEW, DHI has performed extremely well: 77% of potential participants have signed up to the programme. Of these, 40% have found paid employment, 55% have gone into learning, and 40% have undertaken voluntary work or work placements.
DHI has also made new connections with employers (a work placement with B&NES Council led to a two-year apprenticeship, and Business in the Community found a placement with Bristol Zoo) and with voluntary organisations (voluntary work at Grow for Life, Bath City Farm, and Time Bank). Bath College even created a bespoke course through the WoEW project.
To overcome as wide a range of barriers as possible, DHI worked in line with its own equality, diversity, and gender equality policy together with WoEW’s additional policy. DHI’s monitoring programme checks the effectiveness of the policy. DHI also committed to an action plan for sustainable development, and promoted greener ways of living by handing out branded WoEW goods such as reusable shopping bags.
Since Julian House (JUL) joined the WoEW project, it’s signed up 107 participants, of whom 17 have moved into employment and 14 have begun education or training. Sixty-eight participants were disabled and 34 lacked basic skills in English or maths.
JUL works with participants facing a wide range of barriers, including homeless people, people on the autism spectrum, ex-offenders, women at a refuge centre, and people at a Syrian refugee project. JUL’s first aim is to get people moving on their path towards education or employment. Even if they’re not ready now, they may be in a year’s time.
WoEW funding came at the right time for JUL. Bath has been on Universal Credit from the outset, so the problems associated with the transition have been felt for some time. Funds supported 25 participants through JUL’s in-house life-skills and employability courses, and provided CV workshops for another 30. Both projects were designed especially for WoEW.
For the most part, JUL uses Business in the Community to make connections with employers, but it has begun developing its own. To find potential openings the team are happy to walk the streets to talk to potential employers. This approach landed a placement with a travel agent for a participant who was interested in the industry, and a trial with a local garage that worked out so well, it developed into an apprenticeship.
JUL is keen on sustainability. The team walk wherever they can, run a recycling box scheme, and insist on double-sided printing. The local bus company has provided free bus tickets to help participants attend interviews. JUL’s bike workshop helps too. The opportunity to strip down and rebuild a bicycle imparts skills and self-belief. At the end, participants walk away with a fully functioning bicycle.
In a project with Bath City Farm, participants set up a mini business selling plants at a summer fair. Many volunteering roles are connected with renewing.
Participant Case Studies
Broadway Lodge, NORTH SOMERSET
With the right support, people can come back from a lifetime of addiction. It’s a huge step, but for Richard (not his real name), the dream of a drug-free career is on the verge of becoming a reality. At the age of 48, he’s now studying counselling skills at Weston College, and building his own support network.
A determination to kick the habit
Richard first used heroin when he was 12. Thirty-six years later he came to Broadway Lodge for six months of inpatient detoxification. It wasn’t his first attempt to clear his life of drugs, but this time he was determined to make it work.
When his residential treatment ended, Richard joined the WoEW programme. He took part in regular one-to-one sessions to help focus on his goals, and to acknowledge his progress. The sessions were a safe place to talk about his barriers to progress: negative thinking … a lack of motivation and self-esteem … an ex-offender with no recent employment history.
Step by step towards a drug-free future
Richard also attended Broadway Lodge’s aftercare service that included an acupuncture and meditation session, group therapy, and a post-lunch workshop. Richard’s ability to work is limited by a severe lung condition (he’s awaiting a transplant) which meant that the full-day sessions were too tiring. He attended for the mornings only.
But that was enough to boost his self-confidence and self-belief, and give him the skills to better manage his emotions and his personal relationships. Richard crucially understood that, to build his confidence, he needed to mix with people beyond his immediate network. So he signed up for a basic IT course, joined a community-based mutual-aid group, found a buddy among the long-term members of the group, and built up a support network.
A new town and a fresh direction
Richard is well on his way to a new life. As his time in supported accommodation came to an end, he made a big effort to move to Weston-super-Mare and find a permanent home. His health and recovery were his priority.
Richard has now enrolled at Weston College and begun a Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills. He knows what he wants to do – and what he needs to do to achieve it – so he’s also studying GCSE English to give himself the skills to progress further with his counselling courses. He has a vision of a different life, and he’s working to make it happen.
Cross-Cutting Themes Case Studies
Have been working with project participants to plant native tree species around their buildings in Kingswood to encourage biodiversity and create a ‘green lung’. Being split across three sites they have installed video conferencing equipment in locations being used by West of England Works staff so that team members do not have to travel unnecessarily to meetings and reviews. Moving in to year two they are setting individualised sustainability targets for each member of the WoEW team.
Have started a scheme where the payment of travel expenses is inversely related to the size of car engine. Have instigated an incentive programme for staff to cycle and car share.
Southmead Development Trust
Are starting to incentivise participants bringing their own, reusable cups to meetings. SDT are also identifying opportunities to engage participants in improvements to the grounds of the organisation by identifying development/ conservation opportunities for will spaces which has been partially completed. Organising regular litter picking groups and are in the process of installing bollards to protect grass areas from vehicles.
Have identified premises within rural communities which will allow staff members to travel to participants’ communities reducing travel for individual participants.
Project Wide Initiatives
We have provided West of England Works branded, reusable cotton shopping bags and are in the process of purchasing branded reusable travel drinks mugs which partners and participants can use instead of disposable plastic cups and bottles.
Team North Somerset
Have been embedding sustainable development into all of their activities so that all participants will be completing a workshop helping them to reduce their carbon footprint and will also be taking part in a local beach clean activity. TNS have also created a dedicated area within their delivery space for Cross-cutting Themes information, advice and support.