Activities are a key part of our service, helping us to provide opportunities for people who use our centre to build their own aspirations for the future.
When you think about activities you probably think of things that fill in time, provide enrichment, and make you happy. You might think about something you did on holiday, or a club you are part of, or a hobby you have. Whatever comes to mind, you are probably doing that activity because you enjoy it.
At the Project activities are a core part of the service we offer, providing opportunities for the people who use our centre that are away from the streets; opportunities that allow them to develop new skills, meet new people, fill in their time, and make them happy.
Without such opportunities many would continue to remain within the vicious cycle of homelessness.
We are really lucky that we can provide such a wide range of activities from a new knitting group through to snooker, table-tennis, photography, art, but also Maths and English, work and IT skills are all on offer, because of a grant we receive from the National Lottery.
The range of activities we offer also spread outside our front door. Our Progression Support Worker, H, creates opportunities for people to be involved in events and activities across the city. For example, she takes groups of people to the theatre, cinema, the Peaks, and art exhibitions. She also engaged a group in the Sharrow Lantern festival, taking a group regularly to the lantern making workshops and then to the festival itself.
One of the keys to our activities is relationships. Relationships lead to support networks and thus can help people deal with mental health problems, feelings of isolation and addictions.
Due to trauma in their past many of those people who use our centre do not know how to build relationships, or how to look after their own wellbeing. (For more information on the support we provide read our blog on whole service).
Providing a safe and welcoming space allows people to gain confidence, trust our project workers and hopefully allow them to begin to want to create aspirations for the future and step away from the cycle that they presently find themselves in.
Activities are also a key part of our Just Works programme. Just Works is an initiative that offers employment to people that have been dealing with homelessness or other difficult circumstances. In 2018 Just Works delivered 7,989 hours of paid work.
But alongside this employment offer is a whole host of wellbeing opportunities from yoga to trips out in the Peak District.
One employment route in Just Works is Printed By us a screen printing business. They run workshops where they hand screen print artwork, then market the prints before selling them online and at pop-ups and fairs. Printed By us therefore acts as a step between taking part in one of our activities and earning paid work.
So although activities start off as a way of filling time, they can lead to so much more.