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Skills for Life

April 15 2011
Three years’ funding to support Trident Reach service users

Trident Reach's new ‘Skills for Life Service’ project will 'go live' on 11 April 2011. This project has secured funding for three years from the Big Lottery Fund and will provide one-to-one and group support to vulnerable and homeless people in Birmingham.

Trident Reach is one of the main providers of support to homeless people in Birmingham through the Supporting People programme. The charity provides a direct-access hostel offering intensive support for 28 days. Ben Bradley, its head of social investment, said: “Each person accessing this new service will be seen as an individual with qualities and weaknesses. We will aim to meet their needs by offering a variety of options, such as advice on how to cook a healthy meal on a budget. This is just part of how we are looking at new ways to support our customers. We already have in-house psychologists who can give in-depth support to customers who need to address traumatic experiences. As part of the service, we will also be offering a mobile computer suite teaching numeracy and literacy skills.”

Mr Bradley added that one of their service users had spent 37 years “on the road” and had not been in a supermarket in that time. “He will find this service invaluable. He is one of many individuals who have direct access to hostel services but he has become classically institutionalised and marginalised in society. Basic life skills will equip people like him with a better chance of trying to live a normal life again within a community.”

When asked how their Project will differ from Crisis Skylight, which already provides basic skills support, cookery, numeracy and literacy classes across Birmingham, Mr Bradley replied: “Support staff will go into the individual's home, if that is what they request, or they can be seen in an accommodation site of their choice. The programme is flexible to suit their needs. Trident will meet other service providers - including Crisis Skylight - to identify any gaps and make sure services are not duplicated.”

As part of their 'going live' day, trained staff will be involved in the local community introducing taster sessions regarding healthy living and eating. Posters will be displayed in local areas to advertise the events.