The project was inspired by Greg & Gill Mangham’s refusal to accept that all people who are homeless or rough sleepers were in these situations due to some form of abuse or addiction.
At the same time, there was an ever increasing awareness that the hospitality industry needed to employ a large number of team members to meet the needs of an ever increasing industry.
It seemed only sensible to marry the need for new team members within the hospitality industry with those who, with the right opportunity, would be able to get their lives back on track.
Greg then decided to use the knowledge and contacts he’d acquired during his 40 years in the industry to find a way to help those who had not been as fortunate as others.
Throughout the design of the project there was always one underpinning realisation; that none of us are ever very far away from being vulnerable.
A Breakfast Meeting
In late September 2017, a breakfast meeting was held with representatives of the hospitality industry to discuss the merits and intricacies of setting up Only A Pavement Away.
The meeting proved to be the foundation for the initial 10 companies, and those charities and associations involved with the homeless, joining the project.
All those involved agreed to work together in the setting up of a charity which would act as a conduit to employment for those who found themselves in such a vulnerable situation.
The speed in which the project has accelerated has been significantly down to the great support and strong commitment from all of those initially involved with the project.
The project expanded to include ex-offenders and veterans and gained the support of those in both the penal system and military support groups.
OAPA WAS BORN
OAPA aims to act as the conduit to help those disadvantaged and struggling to get into work or finding housing. Whilst our initial focus was helping the homeless and those sleeping rough including those having to “sofa hop”, we then decided to also look to work with veterans and ex-offenders.
In time the project may extend to those with other vulnerabilities but who with the right support can work within the hospitality industry.
A story WORTH TELLING
Over recent years there has been a significant increase in people becoming homeless and sleeping rough, it seemed only sensible to look to resolve both problems through one over- arching approach, whilst reducing the ever-increasing strain on government funding required to support those who find themselves in such extreme and vulnerable circumstances.
It is important to stress that OAPA is not a recruitment agency and focuses solely on helping those on the project find work.