The Howarth Foundation and St George’s Crypt Partnership
The Howarth Foundation Partnership
The Howarth foundation is a charity working in partnership with St George’s crypt and, our drug and alcohol rehabilitation project, Growing Rooms, to get people back into employment. The charity is the brainchild of Andy Howarth who launched it a year ago after taking a back seat from his law and HR business when his son took over running the firm. Andy set up the Howarth Foundation to help support people from poverty and homelessness back into employment.
‘We recognise that a lot of people like the Crypt are working to help the homeless. We’re not experts in that sort of work, we can’t do that type of work but what we have is good connections with businesses. We have a good business background, we have about 600 business clients in the law firm, so what we did was we set the charity with the aims and objectives of helping the homeless back to work, into employment and or training.’
When the Foundation approached the Crypt with the idea, Training and Engagement Manager, Chris Lane felt it was like a God moment. St George’s Crypt had been looking for someone to support clients back into employment.
The Howarth Foundation set up a scheme called ‘Business Building Futures’ which has been endorsed by Leeds City Council. They go out to businesses and inform them of the work the Crypt does with people who have previously had chaotic lifestyles and histories of addiction. They ask if the businesses would be prepared to give their vulnerable clients a chance of an interview or meeting and a job because ordinarily homeless people do not get past the CV sifting stage.
A Barriers project was then set up where The Howarth Foundation worked with the guys from Growing Rooms, looking at what the clients perceive as barriers to employment. Some of the barriers identified were; past criminal records, past addiction problems, lack of confidence, low self-esteem and a lack of job experience. The results were analysed and then taken back to employers with the aim of addressing and knocking these barriers down.
‘Businesses are persuaded not to pre-judge people, to take on those who have had chaotic lifestyles and have been in rehab; people who may be, in some instances, looking for their first chance to get back in employment.’
The guys at Growing Rooms have already gone through an intense programme of rehab and they then go through an employability skills course before they are introduced to employers.
When clients get into employment, they are offered support, counseling and mentoring for the first 6 months to a year or however long they may need it. Support can cover a range of issues from trying to address shift patterns to enable the client to get to work on time. It is a very different type of employment relationship, it’s one of TLC and support. It is necessary for the employer to understand that sometimes the client may not come from a structured background, so they are going to be difficulties and problems in integration and adjustment.
‘There is an emotional element to the individual who has been restored into society and regained self-esteem and dignity’
We always say the final word for us is HOPE, if we can give nothing else we’ve given hope. It doesn’t always work, but even then we don’t give up we look for something else.’
St Georges Crypt aims to enable people to make positive choices in their lifestyle by accessing employment and freedom from addiction. We find the most appropriate solutions by creating effective partnerships across the city.
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