New Opportunities and Horizons Across Bedfordshire
NOAH provides services beyond Luton. We have been active in Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough since 2013 working on the streets to engage with rough sleepers and latterly to also provide training in such as English as a second language, digital learning and preparation for employment. It is another instance of how we seek to offer hope and practical support to more people struggling with severe and multiple disadvantage, in this case across Bedfordshire.
Central Bedfordshire Council has commissioned a Rough Sleeper Outreach project for the region. This work is being led by one of our Outreach Team, Nick Jordan. Nick is works across central Bedfordshire, largely but not exclusively concentrated in Dunstable, Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard.
Nick is taking action to ensure that those sleeping rough have access to housing advice and support to move from the streets. Many referrals come from ‘StreetLink’, a website and smartphone app that enables the public to alert agencies about people sleeping rough in their area. Alternatively, members of the public can call 0300 500 0914. In the last four months we have provided 59 rapid response visits to StreetLink referrals in Luton and Central Bedfordshire.
Through our training and employment arm, we have introduced courses for people who are long-term unemployed in Bedford, Biggleswade and Houghton Regis/Dunstable. These courses aim to support a further 350 people into work over the next two years. This will add to the 200+ people in Luton that NOAH has helped into employment since establishing our Academy there in 2015.
Warren Edwards, Head of Training and Employment said,
“At NOAH we are so lucky and privileged to do the work we undertake with the support of so many funders and partners who see great value in what we do”.
In our constant efforts to address real need ever more effectively, we have introduced new training initiatives, including a series of Mental Health projects for people with mild to moderate conditions. These projects are proving to be very successful and we have now been commissioned to develop them further. It is very pleasing that they are being referred to as examples of best practice, and have been the subject of striking testimonies at a recent Progressing into Work programme launch.
The model for our training delivery is what we call a Community Hub which has our training facility in the same building as one of our standard retail outlets. The shop will offer high quality household goods at very attractive prices, while providing work-placement opportunities for those coming through our training programme who wish to gain work experience. The combination of training and work experience helps people regain confidence, self-esteem and respect as well as obtaining practical skills that lead to employment.
For those interested in joining any of our courses please visit the training section of this website.