Over 83,000 young people in the UK rely on youth homelessness services for housing every year. Young people facing homelessness are a vulnerable group of people that are four times more likely to be Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) than their peers. With the mooted changes to housing benefit, the sector predicts that all this will just get worse: is there for an app for that?!
Well no. But we are working on it – more on that below!
At Centrepoint we believe that all young people deserve a home, a job and the skills to get there. The young people we see want to work; to build their skills and experiences and make something of their lives. We believe that everyone deserves a chance, and we support over 8400 young people every year, accommodating over 1500 that are experiencing homelessness. We support them with health & wellbeing, employability skills, and ensure that their voices are heard by those in power.
The London Homelessness Awards in memory of Andy Ludlow exist to recognise and celebrate innovative and sustainable projects that make a difference. We felt that our projects fitted the bill perfectly.
The Mini Workwise scheme is unique. It is specifically for young people with a particular passion or dream, and offers an intensive 3 day employability training that leads to a specific job opportunity at the end of the course. Through excellent corporate partners ranging from the Royal Mail to retailers Gap, we have run 16 mini workwise schemes since 2011, which have offered bespoke training to 101 young people, with 72 young people securing employment as a result!
The London Homelessness Awards: allowing us to employ young people as digital innovators
So far we have never been in the position to employ young people on the Mini Workwise schemes in-house –we saw the London Homelessness Awards as a great opportunity for us! If we are lucky enough to win the full award, Centrepoint will be running its first in-house Mini Workwise scheme! Even more excitingly, our first in-house Mini Workwise scheme will respond to the changing needs of our workforce: it will be a digital employability Mini Workwise, with young people employed by our digital innovation Youth Homelessness Databank team.
At Centrepoint we have been fortunate to receive funding from Google to develop our own digital tools – the Youth Homelessness Databank project. Our apps will help to track the extent of youth homelessness and also longer-term outcomes for young people once they have left services.
We were keen to have young people on the team, and the London Homelessness Awards, might help us to do just that. Any prize money we win will be used to offer residents training that will see them learn basic computer programming and website management, leading to real employment.
Here at Centrepoint we are always looking to create new and innovative opportunities for the young people that need them and provide benefits beyond Centrepoint. The LHA will help us do that; We won’t ‘just’ train and employ young people; we will also be sharing our learnings with the homelessness and Tech for Good sectors. Follow us on twitter and sign up to our newsletter to find out more!