A new college for people experiencing homelessness is set to open in Leicester’s Dawn Centre in the New Year.
The St Mungo’s Recovery College is a pioneering skills and employment service which aims to support people into work, help to rebuild their lives and avoid repeat homelessness.
Homelessness charity St Mungo’s is working in partnership with the city council, city businesses and the local community to offer courses from the Dawn Centre that have been designed by people who are homeless, community volunteers and college staff.
St Mungo’s will work with people with complex needs as well as those who have experienced homelessness or are at risk of it. Recovery College students will be taught vital skills to live independently, with courses offered to include literacy, numeracy and digital skills. There will also be arts, confidence-building, health and wellbeing classes, and work placements.
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “We are delighted to join forces with Leicester City Council to offer a Recovery College following the success of our college hubs in London and Bristol. We wanted to work in Leicester because we believe the Recovery College is complementary to the services already on offer in the city and we know that there is a high level of commitment among local partners to addressing homelessness. That shared vision and values are important to us.
“Some people become homeless after losing their job, or suffering a bereavement, or a relationship breakdown. Others have been homeless for long periods and may never have worked. We will work closely with the council, local services and employers to help vulnerable people build on their existing skills, so that they can avoid repeated homelessness. Together we can make a difference.”
Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said: “It is great news for Leicester that St Mungo’s has chosen to open its first new Recovery College here, and also a reflection on the city’s commitment to address homelessness.
“We are very proud of the Dawn Centre which offers a lifeline for hundreds of people every year. Locating the Recovery College within it will make it easy for people to access the education and vital skills training they need, gain self-esteem, and take that first step into employment.”
A St Mungo’s client said: “Without the Recovery College, I would not be where I am today. Last year, employment was the last thing on my mind. But I’ve gained strength, and it’s helped me to do stuff I never thought I’d do and given me a sense of achievement and fulfilment. It’s been a godsend.”
The St Mungo’s Recovery College Leicester will run from the Dawn Centre, which offers temporary accommodation and support to homeless people 2 hours a day 365 days of the year. It will run within existing services, so that programmes are easily accessible. The service aims to help 225 people into work over a period of five years.
St Mungo’s is a charity and housing association, established 50 years ago. Each night it provides housing and support to more than 2,800 people across the South and South West of England and helps thousands of others who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through outreach, advice, health, skills and work services.
St Mungo’s Recovery College hubs in London and Bristol have already helped hundreds of people get back on their feet. Their recovery approach starts with a focus on the skills and strengths that people already have. The aim is for people who have been affected by homelessness to build the confidence and skills to progress towards work, so that they can support themselves and avoid repeat homelessness.
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