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Havering charity project helps residents get back into world of work

PUBLISHED: 17:10 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 February 2020

Havering Volunteer Centre’s Stepping Stones Lunch and Learn programme has celebrated a hugely successful year. Picture: Havering Volunteer Centre

Havering Volunteer Centre’s Stepping Stones Lunch and Learn programme has celebrated a hugely successful year. Picture: Havering Volunteer Centre

Havering Volunteer Centre

A Havering charity is toasting its own success after it helped more than half the attendees of one of its programmes find work in the past year.

Havering Volunteer Centre’s Stepping Stones Lunch and Learn programme has celebrated a hugely successful year. Picture: Havering Volunteer CentreHavering Volunteer Centre’s Stepping Stones Lunch and Learn programme has celebrated a hugely successful year. Picture: Havering Volunteer Centre

Havering Volunteer Centre's Stepping Stones Lunch and Learn programme has seen 27 of its 50 attendees find employment after taking part in multiple training days, mini workshops and one-on-one sessions in 2019.

Individuals living with mental health illnesses, other vulnerable adults and ex-convicts have all benefitted from the guidance of Havering Volunteer Centre.

Those who led the centre's Stepping Stones programme put on 7,500 hours worth of training, 20 workshops and more than 50 one-on-one sessions for attendees over the past 12 months.

Many sessions focused on confidence-building, the importance of mental health and well-being, and CV writing and interview skills.

All participants took part in volunteering schemes, putting their newfound knowledge and qualifications to good use - with some going on to further their education.

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Now, those who took part in the Stepping Stones programme - the majority of whom live in homeless hostels and women's refuges - say they have seen their confidence blossom as they prepare to enter the world of work.

Julie, a volunteer who took part in one of Stepping Stones' three month courses, said: "I learned a lot from the course, as we were taught tips on things like coping mechanisms, which I now use in my daily life.

"I did find the course stressful at times and wanted to drop out, but in the end I'm so glad I saw it through. I received so much encouragement from the Stepping Stones programme, Havering Volunteer Centre and family and friends.

"Obtaining a level two qualification in mental health means so much to me, especially as I have bi-polar myself.

"The volunteer centre brings so many great benefits to the area, with volunteers working together which helps self-esteem and builds friendships and a feeling of belonging in the local area."

Cllr Damian White, leader of Havering Council, commented: "Regeneration can lead to real change for residents, and I'm proud that the Stepping Stones project has been able to help a number of vulnerable residents.

"Over half of the attendees are now in full-time work, with others in further education and volunteering roles. I would like to thank the team at the Havering Volunteer Centre for making this possible."


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