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Leicestershire Cares

Sophie O'Sullivan, about 3 weeks ago

Last week, we featured Leicester Business Festival. At the event, we reconnected with Leicestershire Cares. This week, we will hear more about their outstanding work in the community, helping more ex-offenders into employment.

Leicestershire Cares currently runs two initiatives, funded by the Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioners.

The WIRE Project includes employability workshops on everything from interview preparation to disclosure checks. This project provides two weeks unpaid mentored work placements for people with convictions in order to get them ready for work. Leicestershire Cares partner with many local businesses to offer work placements in a wide range of sectors, including: IT & Admin, Customer Service, Food Production, Construction and Environmental Services. Candidates interested in progressing in the construction industry can also complete their CSCS card training.

The WIRE project has been running for 12 years and has supported 800 participants across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Impressively, two thirds of candidates go onto further training and sustainable employment.

-Paul (pictured above)

Paul had been out of work for over 12 months. He studied engineering at university and was keen to progress in this area, but lacked work experience.

He participated in one of Leicestershire Cares' Employability Workshops, giving him more insight into the job application process. After an interview, he successfully moved onto a two-week unpaid work placement with Terex Corporation, a global manufacturer of lifting and material processing products.

His hard work, commitment and professionalism was praised by his management team at Terex. The WIRE project continue to support Paul with his job search.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to gain work experience, and for all of your help and support throughout. Hopefully this will open up more options for me in the future.

- Paul Nokes, Wire Participant

This year, the charity launched the Unlocking Potential Project, which offers holistic support to young people aged 18-25 with convictions or those at risk of offending. It aims to address the socio-economic and emotional issues which prevent young adults from accessing education, employment or training.

The UP-Project offers one-to-one tailored support on a range of issues including housing, benefits, mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and money management. After successfully completing the project, candidates can join the WIRE Project in order to further enhance their confidence and employability.

To date, six candidates have achieved this amazing feat and have successfully been referred onto the WIRE project. Three candidates have also been successfully housed and a further two have submitted housing applications and are actively bidding for properties. Multi agency working is going well and several of the UP candidates are actively engaging with support to better manage their mental health and substance misuse issues.

-Hasina (pictured above)

Hasina joined the UP-Project in September 2019. She had been out of work for over 12 months and was looking for permanent, meaningful employment.

She expressed her interest in working in construction and ground maintenance. She later progressed onto a 2-week unpaid work placement with Leicester City Council.

Additionally, the UP-Project helped Hasina receive mental health support. Under this scheme, she also enjoys participating in a cooking program, learning culinary skills and key budgeting tips.

I have learnt that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and have the right support. Now I have high aspirations in life. I am confident and will someday achieve all my goals.

-Hasina, UP-Project participant

-Trojan (pictured above)

Toiyan Joined the UP-Project in September 2019. He had recently been released from prison, was currently on tag and looking for permanent employment. Toiyan's interest were in railway maintenance having previously had his SIA badge revoked due to his offences. Toiyan was invited to attend an employability workshop and supported to create CV.

I feel more confident in applying for jobs now as I have never had a CV and seeing what I am capable of written on paper has increase my confidence to apply for jobs.

--Toiyan, UP-Project Participant

Toiyan was struggling integrating back into society and was experiencing a relationship breakdown with his son's mother. Toiyan informed he has been kicked out of the family home and was rough sleeping. Employment was therefore placed on hold and Toiyan was supported to seek accommodation. Toiyan received supported throughout this process having very little knowledge of what to do under these circumstances. The UP-Project submitted several referrals to supported housing services, attended interviews to offer support and liaise with local housing authorities. Toiyan has since been offered accommodation and has settled in well.

Throughout this difficult time his benefits were sanctioned, his mental health took a huge decline and he felt like he would be better off back in prison. Referrals were made to mental health services and Toiyan has received ongoing support from the UP-project and Let's Talk Wellbeing counselling service.

If you are a local business who would like to offer work placements in the Leicestershire area, please do get in touch with Leicestershire Cares through their website.