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Black Thrive - Lambeth
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No Wrong Door

As part of our Employment Project, Black Thrive Lambeth are building a collaborative, co-ordinated and coherent system between employment support providers in Lambeth, who will work together to support our Black and Disabled residents to find meaningful employment. We have partnered with five of the borough’s specialist employment support providers to form the No Wrong Door Collective. The partnership is set on working collaboratively – sharing data, resources, and referrals, as well as learning and best practice.
Learn more about our partners Renaisi work with individuals experiencing economic exclusion, social organisations trying to improve their impact and place-based systems that want to work differently through leadership and coordination. Mosaic Clubhouse support individuals that have been socially or vocationally displaced by mental illness to regain the confidence and skills necessary to reconnect with mainstream society. Mosaic’s approach is built on the internationally recognised Clubhouse model which embeds co-production between service users and staff in work such as administrative tasks, in the café or garden. One service user explained Mosaic Clubhouse supported him:

“I have just started a new role as an Employer Outreach and Partnerships Executive for a recruitment agency. The Employment and Education team referred me to Dress for Success who gave me a couple of outfits which I used for the interview. It was an amazing contribution for making me feel confident for the interview. Mosaic staff also did a Zoom mock interview with me. It was brilliant, it really helped me feel confident for the interview questions, something that I have always struggled with.

Being able to come into Mosaic since the building reopened helped me also find out about SRA where I am now volunteering in the copy shop. I am enjoying it, I find it really beneficial as work experience and for my mental health, it is making me more resilient and confident. I really appreciated regular calls from Mosaic staff when the building was closed. More recently it was lovely to get a reach out call from a member who helped me through a tough time in a previous job. It helped me face my anxiety and go back to work.”

Status Employment offer the Individual Placement and Support (IPS), support model, to help individuals with serious mental health illness find employment, as well also providing education, training, and volunteering opportunities to help individuals move closer to work. Status Employment supported Joannes (pictured right), who has complex mental health issues, into employment by helping her to secure a voluntary placement at Kings College Hospital and complete her UCAS online application in October 2016. After attending interviews with five teaching hospitals, Joannes succeeded in securing a place to study Nursing at Middlesex University in September 2017. She maintained a part-time job at Carpet Care throughout this process and started as a medical auxiliary at St Thomas’ Hospital in May 2017. Disability Advice Service Lambeth provide information, advice, and advocacy services to support individuals with a range of impairments into employment. M.C., a service user at DASL with Scoliosis and Fibromyalgia, wrote that:

“Making job applications, it’s very scary especially being away from such world for so long, confidence lost, not much memory, and the whole rebuilding back that part of my lifestyle may not be easy. Getting all the support from dasl and slowly easing back into what appears to be the new form of working world. Learning to apply for jobs is so helpful and enjoyable because they make it comfortable to ‘let our guards down’. As far as future is concerned it’s nice to keep this support going, to keep us in the loops, to refresh our memory, in order to share experiences. Cause learning never stops”.

Vocation Matters is a user led project integrated within South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust. They provide time-unlimited, vocational information and support for people who use mental health services in Lambeth. They cover education, employment, training, volunteering, and welfare. Clean and Care is a well-established project-part of Lambeth vocational services at SLaM, offering work training and part-time paid work. The project’s main activity is a commercial carpet and upholstery service, which helps the workforce gain the necessary skills, confidence and references that are needed to obtain employment, or other socially inclusive activities.

Whilst the employment and social inclusion support offered by each of our partners is undeniably impactful, working in isolation can lead to the duplication of efforts, poor communication and missed opportunities – all of which creates more obstacles to assisting those who are most in need. It is now more crucial than ever that we work together to support Black and Disabled people to find work in which they can truly thrive – the figures are stark, and made worse by Covid-19 so we must act urgently.

We hope that this initial collaboration can expand, encouraging the 100 plus other organisations delivering employment support in Lambeth, along with the numerous grassroots and community-led services providing other relevant support, to join us. If you are interested in joining the partnership in the future and building something great together, we ask that you take 15 minutes to complete this survey.

We seek to shift the employment support service landscape from one based heavily on competition, towards a collaborative network of providers delivering mutually reinforcing activities. We are working towards systems change – where new relationships and connections are built and sustained, and there is a shift in policies, practices and resource flow that better serves our Black and Disabled residents.

Our ultimate goal is to create a human-centred system in which a referral to any employment support provider in Lambeth will lead the individual to a service which meets their needs, so that there will be no wrong door for any Black and/or Disabled individual seeking help.

Written by: Yasmin Ibison – Programme and Partnerships Manager (Employment) & Tayla Sapseid – Employment Project Support Officer