Homeless Learning Club 

The Homeless Learning Club was a 12 month pilot, funded by The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) under its Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF).

This funding aimed to pilot new ideas and programmes to bring further education to under-represented groups in order to:

  • Tackle the under representation of homeless people within education and training
  • Improve homeless clients' employability levels
  • Decrease the amount of time it takes for homeless people to move into their own homes and to and improve the success of this move

Homeless people in London are amongst some of the most marginalised individuals in society. Around a third of our St Mungo's Broadway clients do not have the necessary literacy skills to complete a form without help and only six per cent are in employment.

The Homeless Learning Club took place in three hostels in Lewisham, South London. These hostels between them house and support over 110 people in individual rooms. The programme trained the hostel staff to recognise poor literacy, use assessment tools and understand the benefits of education and learning in homeless people's recovery. 

Hostel staff, trained literacy and numeracy tutors and local education providers then developed an environment which encouraged learning.

The programmes aimed to assess all clients' literacy and numeracy needs on their arrival at the hostel. All clients within the hostels were offered education and training programmes. Traditional education programmes were delivered as well as the learning clubs where a tailored plan was created for each student to achieve their goals. Students would then teach each other and learn from each other in equal amounts.


  • Overall participation in educational opportunities within these hostels rose from a pre-programme 2% to 46%.
  • 57% of those who took part in the pilot and responded to a feedback survey said they were now looking for work.
  • 90% of those who took part in the pilot and responded to a feedback survey said they now felt more confident about moving into other learning opportunities

See our Work Matters report 2010.