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Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) has successfully won a grant of fifty thousand pounds from The Masonic Charitable Foundation, and is one of just thirty successful bids. This much needed donation will go towards the charity’s new initiative to create a Life Skills Hub, aiming to provide essential life skills and long-term support to people facing or experiencing homelessness in London. The hub will be a centre to train those being rehoused and re-employed on how to live independently, whilst developing their employability skills and giving them the tools, they need to get back on their feet.
This crucial support from The Masonic Charitable Foundation, will allow a central hub to be created to run five pilot 3-week courses with participants receiving a qualification to take them forward to access NVQ level 1 and 2 certifications. Each participant will be provided with an OAPA Life Skills Course certificate which can be provided to potential employers.
The OAPA Life Skills programme will be run by industry volunteers who consist of chefs, such as OAPA ambassador and Michelin Chef Tom Aikens, and volunteers from the hospitality sector, as well as working with specialist trainers to provide quality training. On completion of the programme, each participant will become an OAPA member where they will have access to a broad range of support, on top of being placed onto the pathway to employment.
The platform will also host life skills sessions, with participants learning valuable information around the practical benefits of cooking for oneself, training in the production of menus from OAPA’s employer partners, presentation of dishes by celebrity and professional chefs, CV writing, interviewing skills, the use of IT, budgeting, additional support that they might need and access to the OAPA Jobs Board.
Greg Mangham, Founder of Only a Pavement Away, said, “Not only are we looking to get vulnerable groups into employment, more importantly, the OAPA Life Skills Hub will allow participants to adopt crucial life skills such as budgeting and interview preparation, that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to develop. We want to give homeless people more than a way out of homelessness, but a way into long-term, progressive careers, ensuring they can re-gain stability without falling back into homelessness. It’s vital that we continue to remember that hospitality is the community.”.