Raven Housing Trust – Pathway to Employment Project
A young east Surrey woman who has overcome a range of barriers to find a full time job and permanent home has praised the innovative project which helped her.
Roisin Monahan (19), joined the East Surrey Pathway to Employment project, a partnership scheme run by Raven Housing Trust, based in Redhill, last August.
This programme of support assists unemployed people living in unsecured or temporary housing, such as a hostel, to find a job and operates across East Surrey, Epsom and Ewell and Crawley.
It provides intensive, targeted services to people with significant difficulties or issues move closer to the job market or into work.
“I came to the project with very low motivation and self-esteem and suffered from acute anxiety which controlled my everyday life,” said Roisin, who was living at the East Surrey YMCA. The hostel referred her to the scheme to help her overcome her anxiety and find a job.
Since being on the Pathway to Employment project, Roisin has received personal support and guidance from her advisor to help her decide on a career.
She enrolled on a Level 2 course in counselling at East Surrey College because she wanted to help others who felt as she did and could see this as a potential career choice.
The pathway project lent Roisin a laptop so that she could complete the course and paid her travel expenses. She also attended a jobs fair at Gatwick, speaking to lots of employers, and received help from her advisor to update her CV.
“The Pathway to Employment project also held a confidence workshop which made me feel better and more motivated to get into work.
“I successfully applied for an apprenticeship in service delivery and started this month – I feel positive about my future and am very grateful to Raven’s project as it really helped me and is continuing to provide me with support and counselling,” commented Rosie, who is now living in a YMCA move-on house with a two-year assured short hold tenancy.
Julie Jacobs-Obodai, Employability & Skills Manager at Raven Housing Trust, which manages over 7,000 homes in Surrey and Sussex and runs a range of community investment initiatives, said: “It has been great to see the steps that Roisin has made and we are looking forward to seeing her progress even further. She is another real success story for the Pathway to Employment project.”
East Surrey Pathway to Employment is a partnership funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund. Amongst its range of services it also provides online support and training, assistance with childcare, advice on financial management, physical well-being courses, access to job clubs and in-work support.
Roisin Monahan in the Raven HA offices.
Roisin Monahan with support worker Nicole Tootill.
The café, which is supported by Abri, celebrated five years of serving locally sourced food and drink at affordable prices and initiatives aimed at giving something back to the community; volunteer opportunities, training, education and job support, health and wellbeing activities and projects to reduce social isolation, anti-social behaviour and fly tipping and littering.
The celebrations saw a huge turnout – volunteers, customers, staff, Abri’s CEO Gary Orr and Ralph Facey, Executive Director – Operations – to share stories, cut cake and give thanks to the volunteers and staff who make the café possible.
Ralph Facey, Executive Director – Operations said: “When we had an empty unit in Mansbridge we were faced with a head-scratching moment. Do we convert the space into an apartment? Maybe rent it to a local business? Or see if we can give something back to the community instead…how about a café?
“Unemployment levels in the area were high and community spirit was low following the closure of the Ford Factory. But local support for a social space was clear from the start.”
“A dedicated steering group of local residents and Abri staff worked to develop the project – they decided the décor, menu and the name. Abri’s Technical Services team gave their expertise, advice and two apprentices to complete the refurbishment; and a local resident even put pen to paper and designed the iconic teacup logo for us.”
Since opening, the café has:
The Café also provides free wi-fi, free access to laptops and printing, and support from staff to get online, set-up emails and search for jobs. The Café’s supporters also work to tackle wider issues such as social isolation by setting up initiatives such as the Gardening Club, the Heritage Lottery funded TRANSITion Project, Parental support courses and ‘One for the Pot’, which invites customers buying a drink to purchase an extra one for someone else, when they need it.
Gary Orr, Abri’s CEO, said: “Mansbridge is where it all began for our organisation. We point back to the history, success and vibrancy of this community. You can still see traces of that throughout our organisation in terms of our commitment to housing people but also supporting communities and helping them to thrive.”
“It is an absolute honour and a privilege to come down here and hear your stories. This clearly is the heart of the community – bacon sandwiches often are at the heart of the community!”
Read our Five Year Review to discover how this little community cafe has grown into a bustling hub of activity, working to benefit our customers and the wider community here.
Published 1 November 2018