George came to ROC on a Blackpool Council based 10-week work-placement programme called Project SEARCH, aimed to support those with some form of physical disability or learning difficulty to find work-placement opportunities that could boost their skills and experience leading them closer to paid employment.
BLACKPOOL COMMUNITY ACTION TEAM
Project SEARCH partnered with ROC to provide work placement opportunities with our locally based project, ‘Blackpool Community Action Team’, that equips and empowers local people to help residents who are struggling with overgrown gardens.
At the core of our work we want to help people back into employment, supporting volunteers who need help with a CV, to receive a good reference and to gain important skills needed to access employment. We also want to help poor areas of Blackpool where residents genuinely struggle to manage their own gardens. With the help of our volunteer teams, we not only bring their garden back down to a manageable level in just 4-5hours, but we also involve them in the project in order to empower them, teaching them the skills they need to keep on top of their garden.
We also provide weekly gardening workshops for new and existing volunteers across Blackpool too, teaching people how to use petrol lawn mowers, hedge cutters, strimmer’s and a whole host of other tools and equipment.
George has experienced many challenges in his life, and has often gotten involved with the wrong crowd.
When George joined ROC on his work-placement, it was safe to say that he had a long way to go before he became employable. This was noticeable by issues with attitude, temperament, taking unauthorised days and wanting to leave a number of times. The first 4-5 weeks of his placement were both the most challenging for him and for our team.
Throughout this time, we believed in George. We wanted him to succeed, to learn valuable lessons, to be strong and strict with him when necessary and to teach him what family can do in a person’s life.
After week 5, we saw a visible change in George’s behaviour, his work ethic and his attitude. He was on time every time, early to work, and listened well to instructions. In his 7th week, George started to attend church and the change in his life was noticeable by other volunteers and his key workers.
By the end of his placement, not only had he demonstrated that he could do the jobs required of him, but if it was possible, we would have offered him job. He had gone from being unemployable, to someone who had something going for him.
George continued to volunteer with ROC on the Blackpool Community Action Team gardening projects, and soon later was successful in a job application to work full-time for Leila’s Fine Foods.
Chance2Shine is another work-placement programme coordinated by Blackpool Council, and throughout the year we have had 9-different work placement volunteers for ROC. All of them, except for one (because he found employment during the middle of his placement) all requested for their 4-week placement to be extended. Almost all of them still volunteer in some capacity on our team. 2 of them have found paid employment, and 3 of them are about to become self-employed and use the skills they have learned from our project to get involved in a local community interest company called Green Space Transformations, who also partner with ROC.