On Friday, our Adult Hub Coordinator, Lorna left us for an exciting new opportunity (she's starting today and we wish her lots of luck!). If you were supported by Lorna and Skills Launchpad Plymouth, you will know that as a team we have a very people-centred approach and provide one-to-one information, advice and guidance, tapping into our city-wide partnership to help connect people with opportunities for training and education, and for developing confidence and skills, and to help them secure employment that's just right for them.
Here's what Lorna had to share:
"I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the Skills Launchpad Plymouth service over the last 7 months, supporting people 25 and over to make choices and access support. In that short time I’ve observed a real shift in what our members need.
"The first few months were mainly focussed on helping people access training providers and employers. As the cost of living crisis increasingly impacts working class families in Plymouth, the last few months have felt quiet different. I’ve seen an increase in domestic violence cases, people not being able to feed their families, anxiety disorders, depression, social isolation and people losing their homes. Waiting lists for psychological support are a year or two long. Charities including PATH, Shelter and Trevi are overwhelmed.
"I have been working closely with many benefit claimants who have told me they only leave the house to go to their Job Centre appointment….and they only go to their Job Centre appointment because they are petrified their benefits will be stopped if they don’t.
"How can we expect people to be motivated to jump through (Victorian) hoops to find and secure a job when their basic safety and security is under threat? Shamed, scared and pained brains can’t learn, let alone perform.
"I’ve head far too many stories of people who experience social anxiety feeling pressured to go for interviews for care work because “that’s where the jobs are” We need to help people create their foundations, self-belief and skills in the right order if they are to find and stay in suitable employment. Services that encourage people to leave the house for positive reasons on a regular basis can be a good start. Here are some of the brilliant and crucial services I’ve been referring to recently:
Various peer support groups including one to help people manage long term health conditions and one for people with learning disabilities to develop independence in a safe space.
An eclectic range of short courses that give opportunities to try new things, discover interests and talents with a team that understand mental health and complex needs.
A drop in service to help combat loneliness – a cuppa and some company and a chance to get involved with their lovely garden within Devonport Park
A peer support group for men. A chance to connect, listen and share in a non-judgemental space.
A peer led mental health support service at a different location every night of the week. Have a coffee and a chat with other service users or a 121 with a lived experienced volunteer.
"These groups give people acknowledgment, help people find purpose, connection and companionship, perspective and a chance to discover their interests, passions, values and talents. These are the building blocks of sustainable employment."
The Skills Launchpad Plymouth team continues to support anyone aged 16+ and getting involved is easy:
sign up as a member online here and one of our Coordinators will get in touch to arrange a chat either on the phone or face-to-face
drop in and see us on the first floor of Barclays in the city centre - if you're aged 25+ this is on a Monday and Tuesday, 10am-4pm, and for 16 to 24-year-olds it's Wednesday and Thursday 10am-4pm