Adult Learners Week – Bristol Recovery College

    To celebrate Adult Learners’ Week we want to highlight our Bristol Recovery College Open Day.

    St Mungo’s Recovery Colleges provide an inclusive learning, training and employment service. We believe that learning can be a life-changing experience and make a real difference to people’s recovery and wellbeing.

    On Thursday 15 September Bristol Recovery College welcomed the people we support from across the city to their autumn term open day.

    They were able speak to tutors about all of the different courses and groups available, as well as talking to current students to learn first-hand what they love about the Bristol Recovery College.

    This is the third term that Bristol Recovery College has worked in partnership with the City of Bristol College and South Gloucester and Stroud College (SGS) to provide bespoke sessions in English, Maths, Digital Skills and Health & Wellbeing. With specialist tutors from both colleges attending the open day, the people we support were able to find out more about the courses and were supported to enrol.

    The Bristol Recovery College team – Lola, Yin and Steph – were on hand to help new students with their enrolment, as well as explaining how our progression coaching and employment support can help them to find a job or volunteer placement that’s right for them.

    Over the afternoon 12 students enrolled for the new term, with 31 visitors attending and learning more about what the Bristol Recovery College can offer.

    Anyone that we support in the local area are always welcome – no matter where they are in their recovery journey – and every student will also have the opportunity to meet with a progression coach to discuss their goals and future plans.

    Find out more about our recovery college here.

    Finding acceptance and understanding in the workplace

    Bi-Visibility day is the 23 September. At St Mungo’s, we pride ourselves on inclusion, whether this is providing safe spaces for our clients in the LGBTQIA+ community, or access to our diversity networks for staff. Here, Liz from our Communications team discusses her experience of working at St Mungo’s.

    “Research from Stonewall shows that 31% of bisexual people having been insulted or harassed for their identity, and more broadly, people who identify as LGBTQIA+ are much more likely to experience homelessness at some point in their lives. With this in mind, creating safe spaces and having an empathetic culture is so important to everything we do.

    At St Mungo’s, we make sure our services are informed about LGBTQIA+ issues, and are welcoming to everyone regardless of sexual or gender identity. When referring people to our different kinds of accommodation, we assess whether that environment is right for them, including any support needs they might have, and what will make them feel most safe.

    This understanding and acceptance also extends to our colleagues. When I first joined St Mungo’s, I was provided information about our diversity networks as part of my induction. Not only were we able to join the networks we identified with the most (roughly 10% of staff at St Mungo’s identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community), but simple things, like having posters that encourage you to use the toilets that best fit your gender identity, and information about our workplace supporter scheme for anything and everything you might need, made for an incredibly welcoming environment.

    I’d never been part of an organisation that so openly celebrated the diversity of its staff in every way. There’s a school of thought that you should always be authentic to yourself, and it was this environment that helped me to feel that I was able to be entirely myself around my colleagues for the first time in any job I’ve ever had.

    The acceptance that I’ve seen and received at St Mungo’s has been so important. The meetings for our LGBTQIA+ network that I’ve attended have been so friendly and welcoming, and I’ve even been able to support on some projects for Pride. I’ve met people in the network who I’ve then come across in other areas of the organisation, meaning I already have a connection, which has been really valuable, particularly during the pandemic.

    There is an incredible commitment to diversity and inclusion at St Mungo’s, not just for staff but also for the people we support. And so, this Bisexual Awareness Week, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate everything we’re doing to make people feel safe, valued and understood.”

    Find out more about Diversity and Inclusion at St Mungo’s.

    St Mungo’s welcomes the new Rough Sleeping Strategy

    Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s welcomes the Government’s ambitious new rough sleeping strategy ‘Ending Rough Sleeping for Good’.

    The new strategy, published on 3 September 2022, commits £2 billion over the next three years to intensify efforts to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

    The strategy has a strong focus on prevention and tackling the root causes of homelessness stating that: “no one in our society should have to suffer the injustice of living a life on the streets”.

    Interim CEO of St Mungo’s Rebecca Sycamore said:

    “As a leading homelessness charity we know first-hand how important it is to focus on the root causes of rough sleeping in order to help break that cycle. We deliver a huge range of services to support people out of homelessness and into rebuilding their lives and so welcome this new strategy.

    “A main aspect of our own strategy is delivering services around the prevention of homelessness and so measures to help achieve that are particularly welcomed. It is also good to see that this is a joined up piece of work with support from across Government departments – again this is something that we have been calling for for some time. Only by working together will we be able to make a real step change in ensuring no one has to sleep on our streets.”

    The strategy commits to delivering:

    • Better prevention, so that fewer people sleep rough in the first place
    • Swift and effective intervention, so that people who sleep rough receive tailored support
    • Extra help to aid recovery, with services working together to help people off the streets
    • A more transparent and joined up system, learning from best practice to provide a world-leading response to rough sleeping.

    Rebecca continued: “For the first time, the strategy defines what successfully ending rough sleeping would look like: that rough sleeping should be prevented where possible, but that where it does occur it should be rare, brief, and non-recurring.

    “We have also consistently advocated that rough sleeping needs long-term solutions, particularly through longer term funding. The Government has recognised this, announcing new funding for the Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme, which will help people to recover from homelessness over time and to rebuild their lives.”

    St Mungo’s further welcomes the strategy’s whole system approach to tackling the root cause of rough sleeping, including a focus on strengthened partnerships, improved employment support, and investment in mental health and drug and alcohol provision.

    “If the comprehensive vision laid out in this strategy is followed through across Government, and backed up with the funding and partnership working required, then we have a real chance to end rough sleeping which the government committed to do so by 2024”.

    Outside of this strategy, the Government must take urgent action for a more robust response to the cost of living crisis, to ensure that economic conditions do not overwhelm our shared ambition to end rough sleeping.

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