The Good Shepherd are recruiting again for candidates for their LEAP project, offering people with lived experience of homelessness and other issues the chance to follow a tailored programme of training and support.
LEAP – standing for Lived Experience Into Action project – offers training and volunteer placements for people to become ‘peer navigators’, providing support for those attending the Good Shepherd who have been through similar experiences.
The project not only sees LEAP volunteers helping service users at the Good Shepherd, but also taking advantage of training opportunities to develop their own skills whilst studying for a Level 3 diploma in adult health and social care.
At the end of the training is the ambition to move on to full-time employment, which has already been the case for several on the LEAP programme, landing roles with organisations such as the NHS.
“It is nearly two years now since we first launched LEAP, and we have seen many different cohorts come through the project,” says Good Shepherd Service Manager Chris Cole.
“There have been some really positive successes among the volunteers following the programme, including some going on to land full-time employment.
“But on top of that, it has been really satisfying to see how much LEAP has become embedded within the Good Shepherd itself, with volunteers viewed as part of the overall team.
“Whilst training and studying for a qualification, participants have become heavily involved in the day-to-day work of the Good Shepherd from welcoming people at the door or registering new clients, to being part of interview panels contributing their own views and opinions.
“They have also been interviewed by the local media, or spoken at events such as conferences and the Molineux Sleepout, all really worthwhile experiences which help them along their journey.
“We are new recruiting for the next cohort for the LEAP programme, and would love to hear from anyone interested who is ready to consider what could be a really positive step in the right direction.”
WHAT LEAP VOLUNTEERS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
“I’m still learning. I’m like a sponge, soaking everything up. I have been given so many opportunities, including going out with staff to visit service users as well as sitting on an interview panel helping interview people for jobs. I am studying in here as well, it is like my college. I am doing an NVQ Level 3 diploma in health and social care, educating myself which I never thought I would do, and have set new goals in terms of one day getting back into employment. I’m really grateful to the Good Shepherd and everyone there. I was welcomed with big smiles and now I’m smiling at the world again.” – Akram
“Being part of this project has given me hope, it has really grounded me and made me focus. When I am working with the service users, where there are people who are – or who have been – drug and alcohol dependent, I know how they are feeling because I was once that same person on that journey. Being able to help people is my kind of thing, it helps me as well, and it is down to this place that I have been able to keep going. I now have a purpose, I feel good and fulfilled, and when I walk away from the Good Shepherd at the end of the day, I am smiling.” – Donna
- Anyone interested in joining or wishing to find out more about the LEAP programme, funded by Oak Foundation, can email [email protected]