Country - Czech Republic
TG:
homeless people
Activity: peer involvement, commercial

Pragulic

Discover Prague in a Different Way!

The organisation

Pragulic aims to create unique placements for people who are experienced in being homeless by engaging them in natural activities, through which they can contribute to society, and thus regain meaning and dignity. Their mission is to challenge the stereotypes associated with homelessness by enabling people to experience the world from a homeless person's perspective. Their ultimate goal is to rebrand homelessness by means of a market-driven social business. It is run as a social enterprise, aiming to be financially sustainable using its own revenues.

They currently employ nine homeless people as tourist guides in the streets of Prague as they believe that no one knows this part of the city better than people who spend there most of their time. The main activity is: city tours - guiding a group of tourists through the city, showing interesting places, and sharing life stories and facts about homelessness. However, they also offer other experiential services such as teambuilding activities, city games for groups or a 24-hour homelessness experience, where a guide accompanies a customer and helps him survive on the street. The project started in August 2012 with four employees, and five more were hired in the second round of recruitment.

Results

The main results of Pragulic are the changed societal perception on homelessness, as well as contributing to an improved life condition and self-esteem of the participants. Besides building up self-esteem the participants are stimulated to develop various skills: they receive tourist guide training, improve their communication, organisational and language skills as well as financial management coaching. Moreover, specific trainings are possible upon request.

After the training all employees are paid, so the placement is considered to be a regular job. On the job participants are stimulated to develop professionally through feedback from customers. All participants attend regular meetings, cultural meetings and various events; through the contact with people and the possibility to express themselves they are stimulated in their personal growth. Besides, the earnings and benefits are a good incentive for the work, and stimulate a sense of worthiness.

All in all it is a good example of an innovative approach towards employment of disadvantaged groups, and it is a successful and well known project in Prague. In the future the project will continue to grow and develop in various ways: Increasing their reputation, growth in number of customers, extension of their services, and possible international expansion.

           

More information:

Website: www.pragulic.cz

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Country - Portugal
Target group:
homeless + drug users + mental health problems
Activity:
Commercial + product sales + environmentally friendly

Cais

“It is important to develop a structured plan for a project, in short, medium and long terms. We also consider it important to conduct frequent assessment of the plan due to an ever changing context.”

The organisation

The “Cais Recicla” project started in May 2011 through a partnership between a private company (UNICER) and and an NGO (Cais) combining the needs of both parties. For Unicer, it was important to be an environmental friendly company; for CAIS, it was important to respond to the need for job placement and capacity building of the target groups. At Cais Recicla they use waste products for the manufacturing of new design products. After the creative process, the designer of the product provides training to the craftsmen, so they can manufacture the design using their own creative insight. Sometimes they also create or adjust exclusive products for a company or institution, or they work on simple hand-work orders from partners.

The association’s target group are people experiencing poverty and social exclusion. In general, CAIS´ target group includes people living in poverty, who normally have various other social problems. They may not only be ex-homeless, but also have had drug, alcohol and/or psychiatric problems. CAIS works with people that already have accommodation, because they have to have some basic stability and self-esteem to fulfil the work requirements.

The main aim of this project is the social-professional capacity building of people in situations of poverty and social exclusion. Specific objectives of Cais are: 1) to support the development of self-reliance of the target group; 2) to give the target group the possibility to acquire a fair compensation; 3) commercialise the developed products; and 4) obtain the sustainability of the business. So there are two types of objectives: those that are related to the target group and the others related to the business. They have social aims but no prejudices related to business objectives, because those are the ones that allows them to maintain the project and achieve sustainability.

The products are disseminated and marketed through a catalogue. The dissemination strategy is a priority element to be improved in this project. Through the last collection of Ecodesign they contacted a famous person and produced a photography session covered by invited social media. They often refuse invitations to small events because they refuse a “pity perspective” on their work. They want people to pay for their aesthetics and quality with a social contribution bonus.

Results

The public recognition of the project is the best result. This recognition led to the award of the prize to the Programme CAHO (Empowering Today) of the CAIS Association, by the European Economic and Social Committee. Through constant analysis and evaluation of results, various modifications were introduced along the way, such as diversification of the products, enlargement of partnerships, as well as continuous necessary adaptation of the project to the context. Although the concept of the project remains the same, it is essential to think and adapt the project continuously.

The elements of success identified are: the cooperation between those involved and the combined efforts working on a shared goal, the excellent quality and recognition of the products, and the recognition and appreociation of the work done by all the people in the project.

More information

Website: www.cais.pt

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Country: The Netherlands
TG: mental health problems + ex-offenders + homeless + drug users
Activity: low-threshold + integrated services

De Stadsbrug

“We are unique because we offer a lot of different options that are not offered elsewhere for this group of people. We treat our participants as equals and take them seriously, we do not focus on problems but on potential. By making our participants contribute we solve a big societal problem. And last but not least, we do it all with a positive attitude and have fun doing the things we do.”

The organisation

At the Stadsbrug various small social firms are housed under one roof, offering work and learning places to people with great distance to the regular labour market. This includes people who are or have a history with addiction, homelessness, mental illness, judicial contacts and all the problems related thereto, like debts, loneliness etc. There are many small firms; some of them are run by a professional and others are run by the participants themselves (consumer run), so the participants have great responsibility for the success of the business. All the different firms work together and make use of each others skills. In this way they create a lot of synergy. All the delivered work is for external customers so it is taken seriously and the quality of the products and services is high.

At the Stadsbrug people learn lots of different work skills. Buro Dagloon offers work in the community like cleaning and park work. The bicycle repair shop repairs and sells bicycles for consumers and businesses. The Speedservice courier service delivers packages and works for all the other projects, like picking up bikes for customers, doing groceries etc. Utrecht Underground are city tours given by former homeless guides to inform people about the history of Utrecht as a hotspot for the homeless. FietsieFoetsie is a workshop where former bike thieves give education about bicycle theft and prevention. They offer lot of different jobs like being a bicycle maker, painter, doing administration, hairdresser, driver, cleaner, adviser, web-designer, photographer, cook, salesman and a lot more. People can work here from 1 to 5 days a week. Accomplishments are based on what they need and what their capacities are. At the time of wiriting there were about 60 participants on the job every day. Since they started four years ago, the number of participants has increased.

De Stadsbrug is run by three different organizations. Altrecht, which is an organisation in mental health, GIDS an organisation specialized in reintegration and SBWU which offers sheltered housing. The project is funded by government, health insurance, funds and commercial revenue (about 30%). They try to be as independent from community money as possible. Therefore, they continuously develop partnerships with other social organizations and commercial businesses.

Results

All in all, the key results of De Stadsbrug are that they offer people serious and significant jobs, which give people future perspectives. De Stadsbrug supports people on their way to regular employment.

Depending on the job they are doing, participants can develop different skills, but one of the main features of all projects is to give people a lot of responsibility for their task. So besides specific work skills the participants also learn about leadership, running a business, working together and being independent. Sometimes participants move on to regular employment. De Stadsbrug works together with independent companies, and that has proven to be a good way to introduce people to regular jobs. About 10% moves on to regular jobs and 10% drops out. The other 80% stays with De Stadsbrug for a long time, sometimes they move on to a different position within De Stadsbrug. Sometimes they drop out for a while because they have to go to jail or rehab, but most of the time they come back. De Stadsbrug offers participants serious jobs, gives them responsibility, gives them trust, challenges them, and takes their opinions and ideas about what should happen very seriously.

More information

Website: www.destadsbrug.nl

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Country - United Kingdom
TG:
drug users, homeless, (ex) offenders
Activities: peer involvement, training

Addiction Worker Training Programme

“Trainees provide an inspirational role to service users, showing them what can be achieved if they persevere in recovery, which is particularly helpful for those struggling to engage, who feel the cultural gap between professional services and their own lifestyles. Trainees can often provide critical words of encouragement which are listened to because of their own background, or help to diffuse problems by reassuring service users who might have barriers to talking to staff.”

Organization

The Addiction worker Training Project is managed and co-ordinated by the Scottish Drugs Forum. SDF is a voluntary, membership based organisation with nearly 300 organisational and individual members across Scotland. SDF primarily focuses on improving the quality, range and effectiveness of service and policy responses to problematic drug use in Scotland, reducing future and recurring problematic drug use and promoting and sustaining recovery from drug problems.

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Addiction Worker Training Programme (AWTP) is a unique, multi-agency funded initiative which trains, and prepares individuals with a history of problematic drug and alcohol use to work in social care whilst receiving an intensive package of support. The project was launched in 2004 to help former substance users prepare for employment through in-work placements and formal learning. Scottish Drugs Forum works in partnership with accredited learning providers and alongside frontline services to provide training for students who include former homeless people and ex-offenders who have previously experienced multiple barriers to employment. Course participants must be two years drug free, including substitute prescribing and two years problem drinking free.

Trainees are supported to complete two full time six month work placements with partner organisations, complete an industry standard qualification, and have access to a variety of training and workshop opportunities related to issues in the care field. Trainees are supported to be involved in the day to day duties that placement staff carry out, and attend placements three to four days per week, with a day for study or learning. Placements are accessed in social care projects with a key focus on addictions. Project partners offer trainees invaluable work experience in residential, community, and outreach based projects with a range of service users, and offer additional training to supplement that provided by SDF. Initially, trainees shadow other members of staff, building relationships with colleagues and service users, and learning about the project policies and procedures. In subsequent weeks and months, trainees are supervised to participate in the tasks of support workers. Tasks include, but are not limited to: working with service users, liaising with other agencies, carrying out assessments, key-working, group work, accompanying service users on journeys, accessing and updating client files and records and community outreach.

Results

SDF currently has 14 Trainee Addiction Workers on the 2013-14 course in Glasgow, and 8 Trainee Addiction Workers in the East of Scotland. Since 2004, the lowest number of trainees has been 11, with the highest number reaching 22.

Nearly 90% of those who start the course complete, with 85% of those completing moving in to further employment, the vast majority to full time jobs in the Social Care and Addiction fields. The AWTP provides a resource of motivated and highly trained staff for the care sector, and an opportunity for people with direct experience of services to inform practice as project participants and ultimately as staff members. Overall, the project has resulted in more people previously outside the labour market are employed as trainee addiction workers (127 people since 2004), more people who have recovered from substance misuse have improved their employability skills and achieved an industry standard qualification (114 people since 2004), and more people who have previously experienced multiple barriers to employment related to their past substance misuse have moved in to further employment post project completion (97 people since 2004).

AWTP has a direct impact on trainees and their families, however wider beneficiaries include placement agencies and their service users. Through their placement experience, one trainee can support and provide interventions to up to 85 people experiencing problems with substance use over the duration of the course.

More information

Website: http://www.sdf.org.uk/moving-on/addiction-workers-training-project-awtp/

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