Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Get on yer bike

March 14 2016
So how much has changed since Tebbit's notorious 1980s exhortation?

In the early 1980s, a self-satisfied Norman Tebbit said his unemployed father got on his bike to go and find work. It’s become a symbol of the Tories at their most out-of-touch.

Cut to 2016 and not much has changed. Cruel benefit sanctions replace "motivation". Then there's the lack of opportunity, low pay, temporary or zero-hours contracts...

According to research by Homeless Link, 70 per cent of the organisations said better training and support for homeless people was needed.

A spokesman said: “Services rightly concentrate on getting people the housing and support they need, but employment is the real key for many people to move away from homelessness.”

Many on JobSeekers Allowance will eventually find themselves on one of the UK Government’s mandatory work programmes.

The stats are not encouraging – around two-thirds of those who completed the programme had been in work for less than six months, though the UK Government insists it is exceeding targets.

But there are alternatives. For the last year, St Mungo’s Broadway has been piloting STRIVE, an alternative programme specifically targeted at homeless people. It is non-mandatory. And those running it insist its focused on individuals. So far, they claim, it seems more successful than the Work Programme.

And increasingly charities and social enterprises are offering training schemes for people who have been homeless. Some, such as the Providence Row Bakery, will even accept those not yet in recovery.

Work is not always the answer – or it might be possible right now – but it may be an important next step on the journey. In the next few pages we talk to those about what’s worked for them – and what hasn’t.

Speak to your key worker and find out what may be possible. To access training try:

Crisis Skylight Centres: www.crisis.org.uk (London, Edinburgh and other UK cities)

St Mungo's Broadway Recovery College: www.mungos.org (London)

The Marie Trust: www.the-marietrust.org (Glasgow)

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