A homeless group supported by YMCA Black Country Group spent the day at Suited for Success on Wednesday 11th October. The group have been on a programme called 'This is Me' based at the Glebe centre in Walsall. The aim of the five week programme is to support homeless men and women into accommodation, address personal challenges and gain employment.
The workshop day at Suited for Success helped to raise the hope and aspirations of the group so they can look forward to a better future employed and fulfilled. The first half of the workshop was spent talking about dreams, aspirations, their barriers to employment, interview preparation and how to dress for success. Each person was then dressed and styled by a team of volunteers from Business in the Community (BITC) ready to look, feel and act the part for a future job interview.
Learning and Skills Development Manager Maxine Grainger explained how some of the group were at different stages of homelessness, a couple of the men were even rough sleepers. Their immediate needs were to be helped with finding accommodation and dealing with the issues stopping them from moving forward, with the end goal of gaining employment and becoming self-sufficient:
"Some have been rough sleepers for a year. They want a job and want to turn their lives around. We have to start at their point of need and for most it's about sorting out their accommodation needs. One of the group is currently rough sleeping in a tent, he asked 'if I get a suit where will I put it, it will get dirty'. YMCA have sorted lockers to keep the suits until we help them get accommodation."
Tears of amazement
There were tears of amazement as each of the group walked out of the changing rooms in their suits and looked at themselves in the mirror. With big smiles on their faces all commented on how confident they felt in their smart clothing and how much they had enjoyed their day at Suited for Success.
Substance Misuse Support and Guidance worker, Janice Moseley said: " The atmosphere going back to Walsall on the bus was brilliant, they all thoroughly enjoyed the day and I do believe they were all motivated and came away with a much more positive attitude. They were so proud handing their suits over to us to keep for them."
Start of something good
YMCA Senior Recovery Employment & Training Navigator, Wayne Jones also said: "It was a joy and a pleasure to see them all come to life, this is one of the reasons I love my job and am grateful for the things I have and where I am today. We are all just one bad mistake away from being in the same situation as the people we work with, I hope that this is a start of something good for them all, as they all deserve a break in life."
The workshop group were a bit further away from employment than the majority of referrals seen at Suited for Success, however it was amazing to see the impact that our work can have on those needing that extra bit of help, care, support and inspiration to see themselves and their lives in a better place.
See a gallery of pictures from the day below (click any image to open the gallery).