Celebrations were held in Norwich on Friday, 8 March, to mark the first year of the Work and Health Programme in the city. Visitors attended an event at the Shaw Trust ‘hub’ in Mountergate.
Commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions, the Work and Health Programme in Norwich - and across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent and East Sussex - is provided by Shaw Trust; a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK and internationally. Shaw Trust also provides the Work and Health Programme in central England and West London.
The Work & Health Programme provides specialist support for individuals who
• Have health conditions or disabilities,
• Have been unemployed for more than two years,
• Would benefit from early help to find employment because they may be at a disadvantage in the labour market.
The Programme is one of the key measures being taken by the government to meet its commitment to reduce the disability employment gap by getting a million disabled people into work by 2027. Around 80% of people on the programme have a disability.
The event gave visitors the opportunity to find out more about how the programme works, hear from participants about how it has helped them to transform their lives and learn how partners, employers and participants can get involved.
Celebrations were held at the Shaw Trust Norwich “Hub”, which is a place designed for Work and Health Programme participants to feel relaxed, comfortable and at home. The activities in the hub are participant led. The services and classes on offer are tailored to local needs.
When Jamie* started on the Work and Health Programme he needed support in more than one ‘key life area’. At the time, he was in rent arrears, struggling with an alcohol addiction and in the middle of a relationship breakdown. After identifying Jamie’s areas of need his Support Manager was able to refer him to the relevant intervention services. With the support of Shelter he was able to resolve his accommodation situation, allowing him to freely search for work knowing that he will be in the area for the foreseeable future. His alcohol addiction became manageable after attending a local support group and losing the stress of an impending eviction. Both of these successes meant Jamie was able to focus on job search and in no time had been offered a full time job as a tyre fitter at a local garage.
Martin Haydon, Shaw Trust Regional Operations Manager, said:
“We have had a brilliant day, celebrating the first year’s achievements. This year has demonstrated that the very tailored approach works. Everyone is different in terms of challenges, reasons for being out of work and paths to finding work. The wellbeing aspect to the programme means that we’re able to take a person first, integrated approach with other health and support services. We look forward to seeing what our customers achieve in the second year.”
Jon Smith, Shaw Trust Head of Operations, said: “The event was a fantastic way to mark the Work and Health Programme’s first year and the dedicated support our team provides to individuals looking to find sustainable employment. It was a brilliant day that highlighted how important services like the Work and Health Programme are to those who may be at a disadvantage in the labour market.”