A grant was awarded towards their Women’s outreach project, working with up to 130 vulnerable women, who may be rough sleepers, homeless, struggling with addictions, escaping abusive relationships, ex-offenders, unemployed, have no recourse to public funds and refugees.

Julia, a Polish female, had been sleeping rough for many years and was predominantly disengaged from society. It took many, many months for Julia to begin to take a chance in trusting our Outreach Worker, as life had left Julia feeling battered, abused and betrayed. Eventually, Julia allowed herself to trust our Outreach worker and she came into the safety of the Nightshelter which provided Julia with a hot shower, a warm meal, a cosy bed and others that truly had her best interest at heart.

Julia was referred onto the Pathways to Employment programme by our Polish Outreach worker and first attended one of the Art courses. We noticed that Julia was quite shy and withdrawn and we realised that we needed to be very gentle and allow Julia to indicate when and if she would be ready to progress onto further courses. Over time, our team started to build a good working relationship with Julia, to the extent that she is now able to initiate contact with the Pathways to Employment team, she also maintains eye contact and holds your gaze when communicating.

Over a period of 11 months, Julia attended many different courses. These included the Sustrans bike course, the 8 week long Pathways to Employment Jobs club, the Money course, 2 social summer events, bowling and a Christmas social.

Our team worked closely with Julia and whilst attending the Pathways to Employment Jobs club, Julia gained housing in one of our No Recourse homes and expressed an interest in getting a job. Julia was increasing in self-confidence, and so the Outreach team supported Julia to organise and attend meetings with local recruitment agencies. Over the past few months, Julia has been successfully and gainfully employed in local factories. However, Julia is eager to secure a permanent job, and is continuing to engage with our Pathways to Employment team.

I am grateful for the help that you are giving me to turn my life around. I know I will do it now … before … I didn’t think it possible… never! Now, I will. Thank you so much.