Partners: Julian House, Developing Health & Independence
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.