Blue Print Winter 2009


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Blue Print Winter 2009

  2. 2. blueprint Contents neWS 4 Events and news from around the world VieW FrOM tHe CHAir 5 Emma Harrison, A4e Chairman, looks forward to the challenges of the new year turninG A COrner 6 How youngsters in Stockton are being given a chance to learn valuable 23 20 vocational skills tAKinG A neW DireCtiOn 9 KeepinG AHeAD OF tHe lAW 20 We look at one scheme that has helped a Free legal advice is making life easier for once-homeless client to gain skills as a chef the citizens of Hull tHeir 15 MinuteS OF FAMe... 12 OpiniOn 22 A Doncaster team had their lives turned Michael Davis, Managing Director of CFE, on upside down by the arrival of a Channel 4 employment and skills policies documentary team GettinG it tOGetHer 23 OpiniOn 15 DOWn unDer Mark Lovell, A4e Executive Chairman, on The creation and growing importance of how to ride out the credit crunch A4e Australia MOneY tAlKS 16 in tHe SuburbS 26 A financial training scheme is helping How a programme in youngsters to stay out of debt France is giving job opportunities to those FreeDOM OF CHOiCe 18 in deprived areas We look at how being able to choose and employ carers is changing the 10 in ten 28 lives of disabled people Pam Kenworthy, Legal Director of Howells Direct, answers our quick-fire questions Flexible New Deal (FND) Update A4e welcomes the changes that Flexible New Deal will bring. These changes mean that we can spend more time with marginalised and harder-to-help people, developing individual, tailored programmes to enable their return to work. Tenders have now been submitted for Phase 1 FND contract areas – thanks to those of you that have expressed an interest in working in partnership with us. We are now looking forward to Phase 2 and would again welcome any organisation who wishes to work with us. We will shortly be setting up a registration process for FND Phase 2 at: We will also be contacting all organisations who have registered previously to invite them to express interest in the districts covered by Phase 2. Please keep checking the site for updates, and we look forward to working with you in the future. 2 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  3. 3. up FrOnt: COntents From the editor JO BLUnDeLL grOUp DeveLOpment DireCtOr, a4e W elcome to the new year issue of Blueprint, which you’ll find packed with all the latest goings-on within A4e, as well as important issues that surround the business. I hope that you’ll enjoy reading about what’s happening in various sectors of A4e, and how we’re continuing to help people get success stories have resulted from the Pathways to Helping back to the jobs – and lives – they deserve. Work programme, part of which A4e is delivering. You’ll also notice that there’s a new face in town. Elsewhere, one of our teams in Doncaster was in those from I’m very pleased to have taken the reins from Sara for a nice surprise – and more than just 15 minutes McKee, who has moved on to pastures new. Many of fame – when a Channel 4 documentary maker less fortunate thanks to Sara for all her hard work and dedication chose the team to star in a film about the welfare backgrounds – I can only hope to make as good an impression on A4e as Sara has over the years. We wish Sara the system. Doncaster’s Elevate team was selected to appear in the documentary after Elevate Trainer, is at the core very best of luck in her new job. Hayley Taylor, made a great impression on the You’ll have been hard-pressed to escape the ups series producer. He felt that Hayley had the energy of A4e’s and downs of the economy over the last few months and passion to inspire her clients – all of whom are – and, as such, this issue of Blueprint focuses fairly lone parents – to get back into work and training. ethics heavily on making the best of what can only be You can read their fascinating story on page 12, and described as difficult economic conditions. A4e’s find out what it was really like to be in front of the Executive Chairman, Mark Lovell, talks about how camera for weeks on end! to help businesses survive the recession, and why Finally, we’re delighted that A4e Australia is it’s even more important to support A4e’s more taking shape – we’re currently pitching for contracts, vulnerable clients. Read more on page 15. and hope to receive news later in the year as to Helping those from less fortunate backgrounds whether we’ve been selected to run them. Find out is at the core of A4e’s business ethics, and we were more about the business, and the issues that A4e delighted to read the story of one of our Pathways Australia is tackling, on page 23. clients who became an apprentice chef – having Enjoy the issue! been homeless, and never previously having a job. You can read his story on page nine, along with that of Anna Rayner, who overcame depression to train as a complementary therapist. Anna now runs her own business, and also works from various other complementary therapy centres, too. Both of these prODuCeD bY: Cambridge publishers Ltd ( GrOup DeVelOpMent DireCtOr: Jo Blundell, a4e to contribute to Blueprint, contact Jo blundell on or call free on 0800 345 666. A4e Head Office, bessemer road, Sheffield S9 3Xn. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of a4e Ltd or Cambridge publishers Ltd. blueprint winter/spring 2009 3
  4. 4. uP fronT: round-up News Plymouth £2.5 million Getting down programme goes live to business Business start-ups are The exhibition not limited to those attracted more than within mainstream 2,500 visitors from all industries, as one A4e backgrounds, in care team found out when and medical disciplines. they attended the Kidz Many new Up North exhibition entrepreneurs who at the Reebok Stadium attended may end up in Bolton. working within the NHS/ Sarah Whittaker, PCT arena as carers, Mark Fegan and Robert advisors and in other Clark from A4e’s NDDP social enterprises, while a Connect to Work number of delegates are team, based in Preston, actively seeking to start attended the exhibition, businesses in a A £2.5 million European A4e Plymouth Works completion of job and together with Neil number of more Social Fund programme Plus advisors will offer e-applications. Allday, Matthew Slack specialist fields. to develop employment one-to-one support to Anyone aged between and Ray Parkes from ‘We are now in the and skills opportunities clients in areas including: 16 and 65, who works Business Start Up. process of working with in the South West’s information; advice and fewer than eight paid Kidz Up North a number of females who biggest city has gone guidance; sourcing and hours a week, will be targeted children with attended the exhibition. live in Plymouth. funding of educational eligible to apply for a disabilities – both They are looking to A4e Plymouth Works and vocational training; share of the £2.5 million mental and physical – start a riding school Plus held a prestigious voluntary work; soft cash pot, whether to enrol which is not an obvious for disabled children, a launch with Job Centre skills development; on a new employment group to look towards school for children with Plus at the Copthorne low motivation; course or for some when considering special needs and also Hotel to highlight confidence; job skills; new kit to start a job, business start-up a sensory play centre the benefits of the CV creation; interview according to Carol Boyd, opportunities. for blind/deaf children programme over the techniques; setting up Contract Co-ordinator at ‘Our target audience or older children with next 36 months. email accounts; and the Plymouth Works Plus. was not the children, mental health issues,’ but the occupational said Allday. therapists and other ‘With a little foresight, Training for over-50s welcomed health professionals that look after the the less obvious marketing strategy often The first major project the planning of the and flexibility. children,’ said Allday. bears the best fruits to test demand for government’s new Employees were ‘Many go on to become and opens new markets careers advice and Adult Advancement surprised that anyone self-employed carers, for the Business Start training among older and Careers Service, was interested in their for example.’ Up enterprise.’ people in work has and for its Train to Gain needs, but when the just finished in the programme. service was offered, south east of England. Responses from they grasped it with Over two years, employers and enthusiasm. the project, called employees were very Two thirds of them ReGrow, provided positive. More than said that they were careers advice and 80 per cent of firms able to do their jobs follow-up training to identified benefits from better, half planned to 1,139 people aged over the advice and training, take further training, 50 working across the and more than half of and a third said they region. employers said that it would probably stay It has important had increased workers’ in work longer as implications for motivation, productivity a result. 4 bluePrinT winter/spring 2009
  5. 5. uP fronT: view from the Chair somerset celebrates employability skills New year, new challenges Celebrating the by everyone. The achievements of 30 A4e Employability clients who gained new programme is funded qualifications in literacy by the Learning and and maths, the A4e Skills Council. The 15- W Taunton office recently week voluntary course hen I get back to my desk after the had a visit from local starts from entry levels festivities – usually having over- MP Jeremy Browne, who one, two and three, and indulged, but also having caught up was able to see how the then goes on to level with all my family and friends – I like LSC Employability Skills one and two (GCSE) to focus on the way ahead. I really believe you need programme was working qualifications. to recognise the achievements of the previous year in the town. Browne said: ‘I am and use them as the platform on which to build the Organisers for the very impressed by successes we will see in the new year. A4e LSC programme the dedication of the This year is definitely not without its challenges. at Victoria House in tutors and staff at A4e We heard in December from the Secretary of State, Taunton are keen that, Taunton. And those out James Purnell MP, about the drive for further welfare when clients pass their of work for long periods eMMA HArrison reform in his White Paper, and the desire to help 15 week studies, it is are getting the support Chairman, a4e more people get the skills they need to get back into officially recognised they need.’ work. A4e’s mission is to improve people’s lives, and I firmly believe that we can help thousands more people achieve their goals and build their future. news in brief However, we’re all expecting a tough year with the WelCoMe To Scotland; and Information economic downturn and rising unemployment, but THe TeAM Manager for one of the Business Gateway areas in You need to it is more important than ever that we don’t leave Evelyn Rimmer has recently anyone behind. Let’s not forget, most of the clients joined A4e as Enterprise Scotland. She began her career in sales recognise the we support are long-term unemployed with more Development Manger, barriers than most to overcome. But that’s where we to support and develop and administration, while also running her own marketing achievements need to be even more creative and innovative in our enterprise project delivery across the company. business. of the previous approach – and that’s what A4e people are really Evelyn has more than good at. 17 years’ experience of isrAel in THe year to build sPoTligHT With the fantastic team at A4e, we’ve been able to developing and delivering start-up and business A Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) event was held at the successes in grow a small training business from Sheffield into support projects, most an international social purpose company. We’ve recently working for a UK- House of Lords recently, which brought together politicians, the new year entered new markets in Israel, Germany, France and wide housing association (Places for People). Her role academics, charities and the eMMA HArrison Poland – and who knows, we might start improving while there was to develop think-tank community. The people’s lives in Australia this year! We’ve also seen and deliver community- topic for discussion was the changes in our staff, and I’d like to thank everyone based enterprise projects evolution of the New Deal for their fantastic contribution and welcome all new in Manchester, Bradford, in Israel and the UK. Guest Leeds, Edinburgh and speakers included James arrivals to A4e. You have my full support. Newcastle. These provided Purnell MP Secretary of , So let’s put our best foot forward, and embrace intensive start-up support to State for Work and Pensions; the change and challenges ahead of this year. With disadvantaged communities David Blunkett MP Chair , and member of the LFI policy all these new horizons, together we can make a real through awareness-raising The A4e team in Australia events, workshops and one- council; Mark Lovell, A4e is set to be busy this year. difference in 2009. to-one support. She was also Executive Chairman, and part of the winning team for Dr Jason Elis. the Housing Corporation’s Members of the audience ‘Gold Award for Tackling found it interesting to hear Worklessness’ earlier this year. about Israel’s domestic Evelyn’s past roles policy challenges and how include working for Wellpark they compare to Britain’s, Enterprise Centre in Glasgow, while other attendees said where she managed the that Mark Lovell’s comments development programme for were extremely relevant women-owned businesses; to their work on British InBiz as Area Manager in domestic policy. bluePrinT winter/spring 2009 5
  6. 6. focus on: vocational training Turning a corner Having issues at school can lead some youngsters down the wrong path in life – but for the lucky ones, learning in a vocational centre can give them the Some youngsters who are excluded from school or struggle with mainstream provision carry their skills they so badly need feelings of worthlessness with them throughout their lives, and never regain the confidence to make W hile being in full-time education something of themselves. However, various schemes is a good thing for most young that have been set up across the UK are designed to people, it doesn’t suit everyone. train excluded youngsters in vocational centres. There are times when learning in an The Vox Centre in Stockton on Tees, which environment in which you feel an outsider or as if was opened by A4e in September 2008, was the you’re not gaining much can be counter-productive, brainchild of Vox Centre Manager, Lee Beresford. and that’s when problems arise. Designed to provide ‘first steps’ training to 6 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  7. 7. focus on: vocational training youngsters aged ‘real world’ business. The girls from the Vox Centre enjoy learning practical skills on 14-19, who require an the hair and beauty course. ‘A4e has invested alternative education heavily in providing a to school that better first-class vocational suits their learning facility to support style, the students the needs of young gain experience and people whom we are qualifications thanks passionate about to vocational training. improving the lives The idea is to enable of,’ said Sally Orlopp, young people to Director of Education become better-prepared for A4e. for post-16 life, be it in ‘We feel we can add further employment, value for young people training or by becoming by offering a different one of the area’s future range of provision entrepreneurs. with the key being ‘I felt that there was partnership working, a gap in the market which in return for vocational training adds value.’ locally,’ said Beresford, The youngsters are who had the vision to take the idea forward referred from 14 different schools throughout the after putting the concept to the A4e senior Tees Valley, as well as from referral agencies, and management team. consist of a mix of mainstream and non-mainstream After consultation with Stephen Lidgard, who pupils. When the centre opened in September, it is in charge of A4e’s vocational centre provision welcomed 30 young people – now, it has 112. A4e nationwide, the Stockton facility was based on the currently has six members of staff based at the ground-breaking Grimsby model. centre, while a further two are due to be employed In-depth consultations were undertaken with shortly. Charlotte McCann, a Year 11 pupil who’s schools in Tees Valley via the Education Business Partnership to find out what young people really needed and where they needed it. Gaps that were identified both geographically and in skills provision Some youngsters who are excluded from highlighted the need for vocational training in areas such as retail, construction, catering, and school carry their feelings of worthlessness with hair and beauty. them throughout their lives, and never regain the Real world confidence to make something of themselves The Vox Centre aims to provide a programme that is flexible, inclusive and inspirational to cater for every Based on a business park, student’s specific needs. the youngsters benefit from the experience of The fact that the centre is located on a ‘real world’ other companies. business park, shoulder-to-shoulder with a diverse range of companies, makes it different to other vocational centres in the area. It also adds value to the experience for the youngsters taking part, meaning that they are working side by side with real- life businesses and benefiting from the knowledge and experience of the people around them. The centre provides meaningful alternative education for the young people of the Tees Valley, and eventually, it will be open to the public to give the students a real taste of working life. What’s more, it’s currently the only vocational centre in the area offering retail training. Future plans also include master classes involving local entrepreneurs, further enhancing the youngsters’ experience of blueprint winter/spring 2009 7
  8. 8. focus on: vocational training currently studying hair and beauty at the Vox would boost the local economy. He also wanted to Centre, is over the moon that she’s been able to put something back into the community. do something that she’s interested in. ‘It’s the best ‘It is amazing what young people in the area thing out of the whole of education that has ever are capable of achieving,’ he said. ‘A4e is giving happened to me,’ she said. Referred by New Start, youngsters the opportunity to see the real world of Charlotte is thoroughly enjoying her vocational business, as well as giving companies the chance to training. ‘If you ever get the chance to attend the integrate with the workforce of the future. Vox Centre, then I really recommend it!’ she added. ‘We can see that by working in partnership with The Vox Centre’s facilities are flexible and can A4e, we are really helping to improve the prospects also provide opportunities for working with a of young people in the Tees Valley area.’ diverse range of client groups, from young people to harder-to-reach adults. Because vocational centres offer a service so making your mark unique to excluded pupils, a further centre is due National Enterprise Week, part of Global to be opened in Leeds in early 2009. More are Entrepreneurship week, is a national celebration planned across the UK, with the aim of having 10 of enterprise in November with events organised vocational centres by the end of 2010. A4e currently It is all over the UK. During the week, more than 2,000 have similar centres in Grimsby, Pontefract, West amazing what organisations run events and activities to encourage Bromwich and Mansfield. young people Key player Local businessman Nasser Din, Managing Director are capable of Supreme Property Developments Limited, had the of achieving. vision to develop the business park in partnership with Stockton Council via European funding. A4e is giving Nasser Din was a key player in supporting the so many project. He recognised that to sustain the future workforce in the area, he needed to help young youngsters the people to gain the right employability skills. This, he reasoned, would help improve the opportunity performance of local businesses, which in turn to see the real world of Youngsters get a taste of real working life at the Vox Centre. business nasser Din, supreme property Developments limiteD people to make their ideas come alive – this could be something such as starting a new business or social enterprise, or making new ideas happen in the workplace. It’s crucial to encourage people to make their way in business – with the economic situation in the UK on something of a knife-edge, having the skills, knowledge and a can-do attitude to work is more important than ever. Those who can implement ideas, overcome challenges and possess the skills to spot opportunities often fare best when there’s pressure on jobs. And creating a culture where youngsters have the confidence to make their mark on the world means that people from any background will have the opportunity to unleash their ambition on the business world. For more details, visit 8 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  9. 9. at the sharp end: patHways to work Taking a going back to work can be hard when you’ve been on incapacity benefit – but one scheme is helping people do just that new direction A nna Rayner spent several years on incapacity benefit – she’d suffered from depression and anxiety for several years, her motivation was at an all-time low and she didn’t know where to turn. But after conquering her illness with the help of alternative therapies such as aromatherapy, reiki and mediation, she soon felt ready to return to work. Having visited the Disability Employment Adviser at her local Jobcentre Plus, she was pointed in the direction of the Pathways to Work scheme run by A4e, where staff helped Anna to identify her interests. It was there that she realised her future lay within the realm of complementary therapies. A year later, with the support of Pathways, Anna gained the relevant qualifications and experience and now runs her own complementary therapy practice ( ‘It’s really amazing what you can do with the right support,’ says Anna. ‘The last year has taught me that you are never on your own, and that help is there if you need it, regardless of your circumstances. ‘I feel completely different from how I did a couple of years ago,’ she adds. ‘A lot of people want to start a business and never get round to it – but you’ve got to be a risk-taker to be an entrepreneur. I feel as if I have developed as a person and I know myself much better now. From feeling low in confidence and self- esteem, people are now coming to me for advice.’ Vital support Pathways To Work is an independent service for people in receipt of incapacity-related benefits. It provides impartial advice, training and support to those out of work, to help and encourage them to find employment in an area that they’re suited to. While some clients are referred from their local Jobcentre Plus, others come to Pathways directly. Kate Goodman, National Pathways Director for A4e, explains some of the difficulties that the Pathways clients face. ‘Our customer group is still judged by many because of the way they look, by the benefit they are on or by the condition we label them with,’ she says. blueprint winter/spring 2009 9
  10. 10. feature: offender management Jason Burns, Training for Life Manager at Dartmouth Apprentice. ‘This can lead to our customers feeling ashamed, Building relationships embarrassed or unable to be open about their Steve Carter is an Employer Engagement Consultant circumstances and desires. from A4e Pathways in Torquay. His main role is to ‘We have had customers who have not been go out and source job vacancies, meet potential specific on their CVs about their condition, the employers and build good relationships with them. employer has subsequently discovered this and it However, he does get involved in the client side of has resulted in the person being dismissed – not the service, too, and recently managed to secure a because they weren’t doing a good job, but because homeless client a place as a trainee chef at a new they had lied in order to get the job. Would this have venture called Dartmouth Apprentice. Similar to happened if they had added an A-level or two, or said Jamie Oliver’s 15 restaurant, Dartmouth Apprentice that they had lots of hobbies in order to look good? trains unemployed young people while they work ‘What makes my job worthwhile is when you alongside professional chefs in the restaurant. see people’s lives turning around, that point when They gain hospitality industry qualifications, and somebody realises that they are not useless and that at the end of their apprenticeships, they get help Former Pathways client they have a lot to offer. Our Pathways teams really Anna Rayner is now a to find jobs. do make a difference, and I’m really proud of them.’ complementary therapist. Twenty nine-year-old Lee Harvey was homeless and jobless when he came to Torquay Pathways – he’d fled from County Durham with his girlfriend due to difficult circumstances, and was living in a tent in Brixham, Devon. Steve Carter, co-incidentally, had What makes my job worthwhile is when you just heard about Dartmouth Apprentice when Lee see people’s lives turning around, that point when arrived in the office, and decided to try to get Lee on the scheme. somebody realises that they have a lot to offer ‘Not only was Lee homeless, but he’d also got a kate goodman, national pathways director for a4e criminal record having been in prison four times, 10 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  11. 11. at the sharp end: patHways to work he’d been on drugs, and had never worked in his life,’ says Carter. ‘A lot of people would have written him off, but I wasn’t going to.’ Carter met up with staff at the newly opened Dartmouth Apprentice and managed to arrange an interview for Lee. ‘We sorted out some new clothes for Lee, and the other Employment Coaches in the office were brilliant – they ironed them, turned up the trousers, and got Lee ready for his interview. Thankfully, Lee was accepted. ‘It took up a lot of my time and affected my targets, but I wasn’t worried about that,’ he continues. ‘We then had problems finding Lee and his girlfriend A lot of people want to start a business and never get round to it – but you’ve got to be a risk-taker to be an entrepreneur anna rayner, former pathways client accommodation. Dartmouth is very smart, and there’s no run-down bedsits that you can rent cheaply. We got talking to Dartmouth Homeless Trust and managed to borrow some of the money needed for a deposit for a flat, and borrowed the remainder from A4e – which Lee is paying back. ‘It’s been a great success. Lee loves it – he’s even The first day they moved in, I bought them some doing double shifts. He’s hoping to train to be a chef groceries and helped them with essentials, and then and really enjoys getting up and going to work – it’s Lee started work. just transformed him. I’m so proud of him.’ case study: ‘my life has really changed’ Lee Harvey, 29, was homeless and jobless before being accepted as an apprentice at dartmouth apprentice ‘I started at Dartmouth Apprentice in September 2008 – I’d never done anything like that before. The work has been going brilliantly, and I’m a lot further along than when I first joined. I’ve been preparing the meals, and I’m also looking forward to getting my catering qualifications, which I hope to be doing soon. ‘I’ve even got my own starter on the menu at the restaurant – it’s a sandwich with Parma ham, salami, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, and it’s going down a storm. A lot of people are ordering it. ‘My life has changed a heck of a lot over the past few months. Before I started here, I wasn’t working and I was always getting into trouble. But thanks to A4e and the Dartmouth Apprentice, I’ve been able to do something useful. I’m really grateful to them all.’ blueprint winter/spring 2009 11
  12. 12. Feature A DocumentAry on DoncAster eleVAte Their 15 minutes of fame... Being picked to be part of a tV documentary But what was the idea behind the documentary in the first place? Series Producer Fergus O’Brien is a distant dream for most of us – but for a wanted to make three films looking at welfare provision in the UK from top to bottom, and see team in Doncaster, it became a reality how government policy is formulated and then ‘I implemented through senior civil servants in charge don’t do handouts here,’ says Carolyn of procurement. Kendrick, Business Manager for A4e ‘The reason I’m so excited about it is that it’s been Doncaster. ‘What we do is teach our about 12 years since anything’s been done on TV learners to support themselves and find on the welfare system, and so much has changed their own way to the life they want.’ in the role of companies who are now actively It’s this kind of philosophy on which A4e involved,’ he says. ‘I wanted to see how that would Doncaster has based its skills courses that help get trickle down the departments, and also how the the unemployed back into work or training. And the private sector get involved. teaching of these courses is so good that it recently ‘The main thrust of the documentary is the attracted a Channel 4 documentary team to the human angle – the emotional stories of people Client Dawn Schofield gets offices. The stars of the programme, all of whom a real taste for work. who are trying to get back into the workplace, were involved in Doncaster’s Elevate course, will either because they want to, or because they feel appear on TV in the autumn. that there’s some sort of growing pressure due to Elevate is an A4e course which helps lone parents the changes in welfare legislation to get working. I get back to work. It starts off by building up the wanted to follow their journey.’ clients’ confidence and motivation, before working on issues each client might have experienced in the past – such as problems with interviews or personal issues. Once the client feels ready and I was so nervous – once your words are recorded has identified an area of work they’d like to go into, work placements are arranged for seven weeks and on camera, you can’t go back and re-phrase them the client is supported throughout. Hayley taylor, elevate tutor 12 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  13. 13. Feature: DoncAster eleVAte in the spotlight A4e trainer, Hayley Taylor, helps to motivate Elevate client Yvette Brown. A real experience terms of a TV programme, you need something For Elevate Tutor Hayley Taylor, the experience of that looks very proactive, that gets the clients being shadowed by a camera crew for six weeks involved. It was apparent to us very quickly when was nerve racking, but exciting. ‘I got a call from we visited Hayley that she had a real energy and the producers saying that they were making a passion for what she was doing which was quite programme for Channel 4, and they arranged to infectious – and we knew that the camera would come up and visit. Then about two weeks later, pick up on that.’ they rang to ask if they could film one of my The clients, despite the fact that they were all Elevate courses! out of work and many had been away from the ‘At the time, I was very nervous, especially job market for some time, rose to the challenge. when they were filming the classes. They According to Taylor, they knew from day one that would ask me questions and I’d have to think there would be a film crew around, and yet they still on my feet all the time and come up with the turned up for classes and came on board. Elevate client answers you’d hope you’d say – but you never ‘The clients loved it,’ she says. ‘If anything, the Lyndsey Ward gets busy actually know what’s going to come out until crew boosted them even more. They felt that if they during her work placement you say it! Once your words are recorded on could deal with that kind of intrusion, they could at Doncaster camera you can’t go back and re-phrase them.’ deal with anything. Poundland. For Fergus O’Brien, Hayley Taylor was ‘A couple of clients explained to me that they just the person he was looking for. were a bit nervous, but after the second week, they He wanted to find a course with loved it. I took them out for dinner in a pub one day, someone running it who had and with everyone looking at them, they felt like the energy, drive, focus and stars. It’s been really good for them.’ structure to keep the course vibrant. Adding to success ‘All courses vary from According to Carolyn Kendrick, profile raising place to place, so we can only aid A4e Doncaster’s success in helping spent a lot of time to gain the respect and understanding of more looking at different local organisations and employers with a view to tutors with different forming partnerships. ‘We want to achieve results approaches,’ he says. which improve people’s lives,’ she says. ‘I run several ‘They were all successful courses besides Elevate, such as Skills for Life, in their own way, but in which raises literacy and numeracy in line blueprint winter/spring 2009 13
  14. 14. Feature: DoncAster eleVAte in the spotlight The hardworking A4e team in Doncaster. with the government’s Skills for Life Agenda. We have excellent job outcomes with this course – ‘tHe parents Felt tHey 55 per cent of clients gained jobs as a result during were in a bit oF a trap’ October and November 2008.’ Fergus o’Brien from studio lambert is the Other courses include Gateway – a two-week series producer of the channel 4 documentary intensive job search programme; Full Time on the welfare system. Education and Training for 18-24 year olds who have slipped through NEET provision and require The main further guidance into the world of work; Progress to Work, which helps to overcome the problems thrust of the faced by those recovering from substance abuse in re-entering society; and Link Up, which helps those documentary recovering from alcohol abuse, the homeless and ex- is the human offenders find a way back into employment. ‘We teach our learners to support themselves and angle – the find their own way to the life they want,’ explains emotional Joanne Simmonds, an Elevate client, enjoys chatting to the customers in Poundland. Kendrick. ‘In November, despite growing fears over the economy and news of redundancies at every stories of ‘I think what struck me most was how many of the turn, my team put 44 unemployed people into people who parents felt that they were in a bit of a trap because jobs. And not just any 44 people – many of these they had lost so much confidence – they couldn’t see a came to us with multiple barriers to reaching the are trying to way out, and their problems were exacerbated by debt. employment market. ‘What a lot of them were waking up to, like us, was ‘I am incredibly proud of the team here,’ she adds. get back into the realisation that it’s quite a complicated situation ‘Our centre is full of passion fun and vibrancy. The the workplace when one gets into a routine of being on benefits. work we do is demanding and we need support Lots of things keep people stuck in that place. Fergus o’brien from each other to give us the continued strength ‘Some of the greatest changes took place at and energy we need.’ the start. We could see that the biggest problems For Taylor, being part of a documentary made her lone parents faced were that their self-esteem and really proud. ‘It’s a real compliment to have been self-confidence had been completely eroded. The chosen to be in a film,’ she says, ‘and it’s something challenge for them was to face up to that and rebuild that I’ll be able to keep forever. It’s good, too, to be a it. As we followed their journey, we saw them face a role model for my daughter – and I’ll be able to see lot of their demons and learn what it was that had myself at my peak in years to come!’ been stopping them. It was an amazing experience.’ 14 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  15. 15. oPinion: MARK LOVELL Where credit’s due The declining economy has it – for example, covering relaxation for Train to Gain eligibility, extension of debt advice, better confirmed to Mark Lovell that access to welfare and skills provision in the event of redundancy – are all good policy decisions. Over robust finances are key the last 18 months we have been clear that it is not additional spend that is required, but greater to a better business flexibility to spend existing funds more effectively. O We will need more public sector investment, but ver the last six months, I have spent first let’s make what we have function brilliantly. a fair amount of time with financiers To do so, we need to respond to the needs of and people in the financial services Mark Lovell believes that working our customers – individuals and business – industry. It’s been an interesting time, with governments in the UK and quickly, and with the full spectrum of A4e overseas will help A4e’s most and it has reinforced some basic and simple truths vulnerable clients. and its partners’ services. Joined up front line about running a good business. Importantly, it public services have never been more necessary. has reiterated to me that one of A4e’s strengths By focusing our attention on making this happen has been its prudent approach to ensuring robust and working collaboratively with governments finances, even though we are such a high growth in the UK and overseas, we are able to support business. All of this stands us in good stead for the our most vulnerable clients. This means we can next two years. do our bit to limit Core to what A4e does is supporting vulnerable the impact of global people, their communities, businesses in those Over the last 18 months recession on the communities and tackling poverty, economic economies where development and social development. As the we have been clear that it is not we work. There is an discussions in the media, in government and additional spend that is required, enormous amount of business have turned to dealing with recession – pragmatic concern in and the speed of its impact – I have continued to but greater flexibility to spend the labour markets remain focused on those things that I can influence and control, where we can contribute to easing the existing funds more effectively and also much but economies, impact of economic downturn and stimulate growth. Mark LoveLL, a4e executive chairMan more optimism and During a recession, one of the challenges is that determination than the poorest and most disadvantaged always get hit sometimes gets the hardest. A4e’s role is to minimise and mitigate reported in the media. against this. The economic impact of the current situation is different to that which I experienced when building A4e in the early 1990s, and what I saw as I grew up in the 1980s. We now have a more diverse economy, with greater resilience and a more co-ordinated series of business and governmental responses. Equally, in this early stage, we see opportunities for enterprise, job creation and skills development (for skills shortages in business) still holding up. This will get more difficult in the first half of next year, but at the same time as rising unemployment figures, we still have a very robust number of jobs being created in the economy. We still have a large number of stubborn, hard-to-fill vacancies as well. At the entry level for jobs, we are holding up well, but we know this will get harder next year. In response to this, we are driving enhanced join up and flexibility across all A4e’s services. The Pre-Budget Report and the announcements before bLuePrint winTER/spRing 2009 15
  16. 16. feature: Managing MOnEY Money talksKnowing how to manage Usually she’s well-received. ‘The feedback I’ve been getting is that this had been a long time coming,’ money and stay out of debt she said. ‘It’s whetted the appetite of professionals to hone is crucial to young people, Upskilling skills they’ve learned on this course. The FSA is keen especially in the current young people for us to identify champions in local authorities and other organisations so that, when A4e pulls out in economic climate – and to understand 2010, the programme will stay alive.’ Prisoners are especially vulnerable to ignorance of financial training is helping financial affairs personal finance – as Justin Coleman, Enrichment youngsters do just that is key to Manager at HMP Ashfield, near Bristol, which houses 400 young offenders, is well aware. ‘They need this helping to sort of education, particularly with the recession M anaging money is a key life skill, but break coming on,’ he says. one that not all young people possess. Unfortunately, the time available in life skills Now the Financial Services Authority poverty cycles classes proved too limited to offer financial education. (FSA), in partnership with Citizen’s However, Coleman has been working with A4e since Advice and youth charity Fairbridge, has created a and ensure June 2008 to remedy matters. ‘We had a new group programme to help young people not in education, social mobility of officers on the wing and felt the time was right to employment or training become more financially start teaching them to pass on basic financial skills,’ capable. In an increasingly complex financial in the next he said. landscape, this initiative is well overdue and A4e is at generation Following a visit by A4e to Ashfield’s training the heart of training people to make it work. centre, the officers received training and resources Stakeholder Engagement Manager Kerry Anne Mel DoDD, with financial information pitched at a level a4e prograMMe Davies has travelled the country to encourage Manager for Young everyone could understand. ‘It went incredibly well,’ organisations to make a long-term commitment. people anD MoneY said Coleman. 16 blueprint wintEr/spring 2009
  17. 17. feature: Managing MOnEY Toni Ebanks, Manager of Rolfe House, a foyer for young people aged from 16 to 25, run by Birmingham housing support organisation Midland Heart, also believes that a structured approach is the way forward. Although Ebanks and her 14 staff have offered budgeting tips while imparting life skills, this was done informally before they were contacted by A4e and underwent training. Rolfe House has 24 residents. ‘Most of their financial problems are generic,’ says Ebanks. ‘A lot of young people have never had to pay bills – they’ve Around 20 people, mainly education staff, have relied on mum and dad.’ completed A4e’s training so far. With Ashfield’s The training package includes guidance for inspection out of the way and routines returning staff working with young people on matters such to normal, Coleman hopes the programme will as bank accounts and benefits. Practical material build momentum. ‘In time, with the backing of includes work plans and discussion templates. wing managers, we’re hoping 100 staff will undergo Information on signposting was particularly helpful, financial training – which will be around 25 per Ebanks commented. cent,’ he said. Most residents live on their £45-a-week Jobseekers Success is hard to quantify but, from observing Allowance. A small contribution to accommodation young offenders during evening association, leaves about £40 for food, toiletries and travel. ‘But Coleman is convinced it’s having an effect. ‘They talk when you get groups of young people together, about financial problems they may face in a focused sometimes those aren’t priorities – they’re more way,’ he said. ‘If they aren’t aware of them, it could trip interested in going out,’ said Ebanks. l Up until the end of them up. We’re trying to avoid offenders re-offending.’ ‘We do affordability plans for them. If they’re in October 2008, 2,172 debt with rent arrears or a telephone bill, we signpost delegates had been Preventing debt them to organisations such as Citizen’s Advice trained by A4e in Jean Brown, Manager of Careers Wales, sees young (CAB). If they’re going to college, we can tell them England, Wales and people stumble into debt frighteningly early and how to apply for education maintenance allowance. Scotland. The target is wants to help prevent it. She’s dismayed by the ‘We’ve used the toolkit for four months and have 8,100 by the time the irresponsibility of some institutional lenders. ‘We’ve a budget guide for everyone. It makes our work more contract ends in 2010 seen instances of 16- to 18-year-olds being given store professional and helps staff reconsider the situation l Funding is provided cards,’ she says. the young are in. Most residents respond well, but through the FSA – Among the bodies Careers Wales works with sometimes you’ll get one or two who won’t stick to with no costs to the closely is Pembrokeshire Action for the Homeless. the plan.’ organisations concerned Brown hears ‘time after time’ stories of people evicted Mel Dodd, A4e’s Programme Manager for Young l Training is further from their homes, ‘more often than not because People and Money, added: ‘Upskilling young people supported by a CAB they’ve got into debt.’ The effect on family life and to understand financial affairs is key to helping to Money Advisor at schooling can be devastating. break poverty cycles and ensure social mobility in the each course After finding out about A4e through the FSA, next generation. We believe that this programme has l For further information, Brown began to organise training in April 2008. the potential to help improve the lives of thousands visit People who have taken part so far include workers of young people in the UK.’ ypm or simply in youth offending and leaving care teams, as well call 0845 189 8081 as housing officers from the council and housing associations. But how does she gauge its effectiveness? ‘We undertake observations with our staff to see if they’re putting it into practice,’ says Brown. ‘I think it will be more long term before you can see the impact. I’ve done it myself – it makes you look at yourself and how you manage money.’ Above all, Brown hopes the financial education will help young people avoid the follies of their parents: the lure of easy credit, and paying mobile phone bills – but not the rent. ‘The effect on their education is enormous if they’re evicted, relocated, and have to go into bed and breakfast,’ she said. blueprint wintEr/spring 2009 17
  18. 18. Freedom of choice Being able to choose carers and employ giving individuals money in lieu of social care services. This means that they have much greater choice as to them directly is giving disabled people the who provides their care, and in this respect, they act as employers. But those who may be worried about freedom to live their lives as they wish the paperwork and the associated employment L issues involved needn’t be, as help is at hand. iving – or caring for someone – with a The Direct Payments service in Southwark is disability can take a great deal of getting managed by A4e, which has a team in place to offer used to, especially if the situation arises guidance and support to users. Isabelle Clement, unexpectedly. Not only do extra support, Southwark Direct Payments Service Manager, care and help need to be provided, but families also explains how the system works. have to get used to unfamiliar people being around ‘Most of our clients would otherwise receive social the home – something that many find uncomfortable. care from agency workers via the council list, but And being in control of their own situation is they don’t get a great choice. The carers are often critically important to disabled people. But what overworked and underpaid. Some are good, but they many aren’t aware of is that they can actually choose rarely have time to do what the client wants – they’re their own personal assistants or/carers – and often rushing from client to client. employ them directly – through the Government’s ‘With Direct Payments, you can choose someone Direct Payments scheme. local as your worker who may only have one client, ‘I care for my 13-year-old autistic son, Donald,’ for instance. Or you might choose a family member says Mercy Miller from Southwark, London. ‘He’s or someone you know that would be better situated been on Direct Payments for a year now. The carer’s to provide the support you need.’ agency weren’t listening to my needs at all – carers Another reason for enabling people to choose just wouldn’t turn up, and the agency couldn’t their own carer is so that they can find someone replace them. I was always getting left in the lurch who has knowledge of their language or culture, and having to rush home from work. for example. For people who don’t speak English ‘Our social worker told me about Direct Payments, as their first language, it is very important that they and it’s really changed my life. I decide how much I receive support from a worker with whom they can pay the carer, and I set the hours so that she’s there, speak in their own tongue. This is crucial when you waiting for me, when I get home from work. Life is are communicating about very intimate support so much better managed now.’ tasks such as personal care for example. ‘The client might be from a particular African Better flexibility country, and they might like to advertise for Direct Payments gives users much more flexibility in someone through their faith group, for example, to choosing the support that they need, and it works by increase the possibility of finding someone from the 18 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  19. 19. feature: using direct payments same culture,’ says Clement. ‘Of course, you might case study: ‘you have to get a British worker to learn a specific cooking style keep your staff happy’ or hair-braiding skills, but it would take time to train royston Lewis, from southwark, is a them, especially if they were only working with the direct payment client client for an hour a day. ‘It would be more cost-effective to employ someone ‘You have to be friends with carers, but you have got from that particular culture, perhaps someone who to let them know who’s boss. It’s not easy being the could go to the local African market and know what boss – I’ve learned the hard way. If something is not to buy, or understand the client’s religious needs.’ right, I always call a meeting and allow people to speak. It’s important not to talk down to people. Green paper ‘You have to be honest and frank with your staff. Stephen Ladyman, MP for South Thanet, is one of I had a couple of Muslim women who didn’t eat pork, the champions of Direct Payments, and is currently so to ask them to cook a meal of that sort would following the consultation on social care to prepare have interfered with their religion. You must respect for the government’s green paper. that. Address these things at the interview stage and ‘I was the minister in the Department of Health be clear about the tasks from the start. who championed Direct Payments when it was first ‘It’s important to get the best out of your staff, too. being set up,’ he says. ‘A lot of people told me it I trained my staff for five years to NVQ Level 4. You wouldn’t work, but I am delighted that it has. And have to have confidence in yourself, and know what I want to make sure that the government is moving you want. I teach my carers that when they first come forward on Direct Payments.’ into work, they must wash their hands. I also make sure Ladyman was on hand at the recent service user that they change their clothes as soon as they come group event at Southwark, where Direct Payment in – it cuts the risks of bringing germs into the house. clients and carers got the opportunity to share their ‘When my wife was alive, I had six carers in the views about the service. They were also able to gain house and I had to be fair to them all – you have useful information about further training that might to keep your staff happy. On Valentine’s Day, for instance, I would buy a present for my A lot of people told me Direct Payments wife, and then buy all the women wouldn’t work, but I am delighted that it has a bunch of stephen ladyman, mp flowers, too!’ offer opportunities for them and for their workers fact fiLe through joint working with A4e Skills in Barnet. Thelma Browne, a Direct Payments client from l Direct Payments are Borough, London, found out about the service from cash payments made her home help lady. ‘I was very depressed – my to individuals by social services in lieu of carers weren’t turning up, they weren’t working care services. properly and my home help lady told me about l 37,000 adults used the Direct Payments,’ says Browne. ‘She passed me the service in 2005-2006, an increase of over 50 per phone number for A4e, and I got in touch. cent on the previous year. ‘When A4e first explained the system to me, I l A4e provides the thought it was very confusing – I saw the amount of Direct Payments Support paperwork and thought there was no way I could do Service contracts for 12 local authorities in it. It was like going back to school, and maths was England, and works with never my favourite subject! But one lady from A4e almost 5,000 service came round and showed me how to fill out all the users of Direct Payments. forms and choose a payroll advisor, who dealt with being independent A4e Independent Living Services currently pilots all the paperwork. personalised budgets for some local authorities (the ‘Now, I wonder why I was scared! It’s much better next stage of government development around the than before, and it’s a relief that I don’t have to Personalisation Agenda). It also provides brokerage, worry about when my carers are coming. I employ advocacy, payroll provision and third-party managed someone myself with caring experience, who I accounts, as well as carer support services, including already knew. We have set days and times, and she a 24-hour emergency support service for Oxfordshire has a spare set of keys in case I’m not there – she’s County Council. an absolute godsend!’ blueprint winter/spring 2009 19
  20. 20. Hull’s Community Legal Advice Centre is the fifth to open. Keeping ahead of the law Getting free legal advice in Hull might be easier than people think, thanks to the opening of a new centre in town with CAB to deliver first-rate services to the public. Hull CLAC is a partnership between A4e and social welfare lawyers Howells Solicitors. ‘They’re a I t’s still in its infancy and has yet to market unique bunch,’ says Bradley, the centre’s operations itself in earnest, but already people in crisis manager. ‘They do this because they love the job are beating a path to Hull’s Community Legal and helping people – you aren’t in it for the money.’ Advice Centre (CLAC). People arrive with myriad problems, but debt is With the finances of so many in turmoil, demand often at the root. ‘The levels can be quite frightening for its services can only increase. Hull’s CLAC is the – especially when you find out how much credit country’s fifth, the fruit of a drive by the city council they’ve been given in relation to their income,’ and Legal Services Commission (LSC) to bring legal said Bradley. advice services under one roof. Disquiet among those who fear for the future of their Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is well- documented. But A4e’s Alison Bradley, who was It’s amazing how you can turn someone’s asked to set up Hull’s CLAC after A4e’s successful life around with the correct information and tender, says there’s no intention of putting CAB out of business, even though the CLAC has taken over many put them in control, rather than the creditor of its functions. A4e is keen to work in partnership AlAn Usher, sUpervisor, hUll clAc debt teAm 20 blUeprint winter/sprinG 2009
  21. 21. focUs on: free leGal advice Alan Usher supervises the debt team. He thinks more than 3,000 families or individuals in the city have acute problems and has watched things build up over five years amid 100 per cent mortgage offers and unsecured loans. ‘What worries me is the ones we don’t reach,’ he said. Usher leads a team of just three, barely enough to fight all the fires. He says another 10 might allow him to be proactive. The scale of the problem might overwhelm many, but Usher savours the successes. ‘It’s amazing how you can turn someone’s life around with the correct information and put them in control, rather than the creditor,’ he said. He’s convinced CLACs are the way forward for l Hull CLAC is the fifth debt advice. ‘I know what we can do and that the to open in the UK feedback will be superb,’ he said. ‘It will be positive, l The Law Services exciting and different.’ Commission expects it to take on more than 3,300 civil legal aid cases – cAse stUdy: ‘it’s A better more than double what’s wAy of spending money’ currently provided by the CAB and other law firms Simon Head is a generalist at Hull CLAC – ‘a and agencies with legal wealth of information on anything and everything: aid contracts employment, housing and immigration.’ A former chef l The first month showed and volunteer at the CAB, he thinks that ‘it would be a steady increase in brilliant’ if the two could work together and offer a full enquiries – 93 in the first Simon Head, Mandy Anfield and Alan range of services. week to 136 in the fourth Usher, part of the Hull With its city centre location, Hull’s CLAC is ‘like l Demand for debt advice CLAC team. a supermarket – we can see what we are doing,’ he is constantly rising – Hull says. ‘I think it’s a better way of spending the local CLAC is expected to see Housing problems authority’s and taxpayer’s money.’ around 10,000 new clients Debt and housing crises go hand in hand. Apart While some problems may resemble a Gordian in its first year from the normal caseload of mortgage repossessions knot, many can be swiftly remedied. ‘The other day I l It has over 30 staff and evictions, Mandy Anfield’s legal work involves increased someone’s income by £3,000 a year relating whose work covers mopping up the ramification of last summer’s floods immigration, welfare which left thousands homeless. benefits, housing, It adds further pressure to Hull’s rental market, debt, employment, where some landlords have even jacked up rents by family, outreach admin 30 per cent or more. ‘It put a lot of properties out and management. All of reach of people,’ she said. ‘There can be a gap of specialists are supervised £60–£70 between monthly rents and what they get by solicitors from local housing allowance.’ Anfield came to Hull CLAC from a private firm of solicitors, Payne and Payne, where she was franchised to the LSC and her work publicly funded. Its nature has changed little – the demand is constant: ‘We dealt with 45 cases in the first fortnight and I’m sure it will increase,’ she said. to their benefit entitlement,’ says Head. His ear is well- ‘The bulk are possessions and evictions and are attuned – ‘I can find out in a few minutes by talking to dealt with quite quickly. What we don’t pick up people if they need to be passed on to our specialists.’ through the office, we find at the county court – on Much depends on the willingness of lawyers average, we have 10 clients a session.’ prepared to work at rates below those in private She sees a big economic advantage for clients practice. ‘I admire them,’ says Head. ‘If they didn’t in having a variety of legal services under one roof. do it, people couldn’t afford solicitors who charge ‘People can be seen for all aspects of their problems, anything from £120–£170 an hour.’ rather than having to travel from one end of the city to the other.’ blUeprint winter/sprinG 2009 21