Words by Sandra Evans and photos by Anne-Marie Briscombe
Thames Reach are a homelessness charity working with vulnerable people across London. We are lucky to have one of their bases, the Employment Academy, which houses several services, here in Camberwell!
They provide employment support and training to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Employment and Skills team here offers support under five categories:
People can develop and improve their knowhow in essential subjects such as reading, writing, maths and IT.
People looking for work can get information and guidance on how to improve their job search, including accessing the right kind of training and volunteering opportunities to set them on their way.
Provides hands-on volunteering opportunities and classroom-based training to help people learn skills required in the workplace.
A support service which helps people who are already employed to learn new skills, access specialist advice and find better work with better pay.
Additional Support Services
Additional services that can support people towards employment-related goals and financial resilience.
Raliat working with an advisor to improve her CV
Raliat, a south London British woman, has been visiting the Employment & Skills team to help her regain confidence following post-natal depression to find better employment, here is her story.
In late 2008 I moved back from Leeds, where I had been living with my boyfriend, to be with my mum in London. When I was in Leeds I had a miscarriage so when I came back I went in for a check-up at St Thomas’ - I got my blood pressure and other things checked, including a pregnancy test. After about 30 minutes the doctor came back to me and told me I was pregnant! I said ‘That is not possible, I just had a miscarriage a few weeks ago.’ I was so shocked, I turned to my cousin, who was with me, and we couldn’t believe it. I then went to St Thomas’ every week for checks and 9 months later, in July 2009, I had a summer baby.
Around 3 months after the birth I started acting differently. I was depressed, I would walk up and
down the stairs for no reason, forget things like my medical appointments, but no one knew, not even my mum. I was just acting different. After a while I was admitted to hospital.
I had never been unwell like that before, the most I had ever had was a flu, but when I had my baby everything came out. I knew there had been some depression in my father’s side and my cousin had depression, but it was not really talked about so this was something completely new to me.
Back to work
After hospital I was homeless, so I was housed in a hostel in Acre Lane, where I stayed for 2 years. I didn’t really like it there because there were a lot of people using drugs, so I just slept there and spent most of my time at my mums. At this time my SIA licence for my security jobs had expired and it was difficult find good work, I took on a care job but I was travelling far and not being paid much. I went to Thames Reach Employment Academy because my support worker told me about, when I got there I felt really comfortable because everyone was really welcoming. I worked one-to-one with one of the advisors to improve my CV. They helped me write a better personal profile and explain my time out of work. They also helped me find better jobs, they also let me know about jobs they see.
They have really helped me regain confidence and show my skills through my CV. Since first going there I have found better paid work closer to home, this suits my commitments as a mum and means I have a better balance between work and home life.
The Thames Reach Employment Academy team and Raliat