read the stories

We love hearing amazing stories about the impact we had in their lives. There’s nothing better than seeing someone’s life turned around, feeling secure and hopeful! 


Hels was a participant on The House of St Barnabas 15th Employment Preparation Programme and graduated in the summer of 2019. Hels had been an army nurse but found herself sofa surfing when she returned to the UK after having lived in Spain. In her 60s when she joined our Employment Preparation Programme, Hels felt that her age was a huge barrier to finding and keeping work. Whilst on the programme, Hels completed her work experience in our facilities team, and started to gain confidence and purpose. Whilst on the programme she also completed her City & Guilds Award in Business Administration.

Before lock down began, Hels had been working at The Wolseley as part of its front of house team – a role that had been advertised by Only A Pavement Away UK. Following a successful trial shift, Hels secured the job. She became the first female door person on Piccadilly (a title she is, rightly, very proud of!) and a highly valued and respected member of the team.

When lock down started Hels was placed on furlough. Her pay was topped up to 100% via the Pay Gap Fund grant from Only A Pavement Away but losing the structure and purpose of working life was really tough. During lock down, the Employment Academy team set up weekly calls, and kept in regular touch to offer emotional support and practical guidance around coronavirus. With lock down starting to ease, Hels was invited back to work. She had her first shift back on the door at The Wolseley on Saturday night, and couldn’t be happier about it. So happy, in fact, that her smile caught the eye of this Times food critic!

More information about the Employment Academy


“I had been working at a Fullers Pub for the past 6 months as a Commis chef, my dream job I had secured via OAPA. However, due to Coronavirus I was placed on furlough in March 2020, OAPA kindly topped up my pay with the missing 20%, this was a huge financial relief for me, as it meant I was able to continue paying my rent and bills on time, which is really important. From mid-July I have started back at Fullers on reduced hours, I am feeling very grateful indeed, if I didn’t have OAPA I would be in a lot of debt and trouble.”


“In my role as Business Development Manager for New Futures Network, a specialist branch of HMPPS, I have worked with Greg Mangham and OAPA for the last 18 months.  During this time, I have been inspired by the commitment and drive shown by Greg Mangham in his quest to help some of the most vulnerable people  in our society get their lives back on track.  Alongside other stakeholders, Greg participates in pre-release recruitment events hosted by HMPPS for prisoners seeking employment on release”


“I am very happy with this fridge, it’s quite spacious and able to store weeks worth of food. I am very impressed with the work of Only A Pavement Away in helping me get the fridge. Thank you.”


“Thank you so much to Only a Pavement Away, I really appreciate the rent payment, it has helped me so much – you guys have been amazing, as well as Pub Love. I cannot wait to go back to work for Pub Love, I thank them so much for the family I have there. I got love from everyone there.”


Team Member Pub Love

“Only a Pavement Away has done a really nice thing for me giving me a donation, it will really help me get by. Between them it is Izzy and her boss Greg who are helping me through this tough time. Izzy even set me up my own email address too!”


“My support worker told me about the Only A Pavement Away charity who helps signpost anyone who is homeless into employment within the hospitality industry and encouraged me to apply for a job.

My career had been in restaurants – as a bar-tender, a sous-chef and then a chef. I was helped to prepare for an interview at The Ivy Collection and I was lucky to be accepted for a trial shift, which went well, and was offered the job. It’s what I really enjoy doing, so I was so happy to get the job.

When you go from being homeless to moving in to your new home and being given a chance to forge a new career, it’s a feeling I can’t easily describe. I am so relieved and finally feel safe and stable. I am proud and know I have accomplished something amazing.


Chef, The Ivy Collection

“I met Abigail whilst I was in custody and she explain that her role was to support me into work once I was released. When the time game, she spoke to me about an organisation called Only a Pavement Away and explained who they were and how they could help me find work.

I was put forward and took part in recruitment event ran by Greene King and was consequently offered a proper interview and trial shift. I’ll be honest, I thought I was going to dislike working in a pub due to the different personalities and back grounds and how people would view me, but this is not just a pub it’s a Greene King and believe me its home for some people. My manager Denise is an absolute diamond. She knew where I came from but understand and accepted me for who I am and I couldn’t ask for anything more! I hope she knows how much respect I have for her for interviewing me and my team leaders for their persistence and patience. I now feel qualified but it does not stop there the road to success is a long one.

If I could give advice to someone going through what I have done in the past and is trying to change their future I would say you really have to want it – and work out what that IT is!

I’m doing better than I ever thought I would, I’m interacting with different people on a daily basis, more importantly I’m learning how this industry works, and I’m getting on with my life in with a consistent positive attitude.”


Team Member at the Royal Oak

“Greg, I just wanted to take this opportunity to offer my continued support to you and to Only A Pavement Away. We first met in January 2018 and I was excited by the potential of Only A Pavement Away in providing jobs and a second chance for the homeless within the Hospitality Industry. I am delighted and excited that you then expanded your original remit to include Ex-offenders and Veterans. Only a Pavement Away is a wonderful, game-changing unitive offering hope and jobs for many of society’s often forgotten/disadvantaged, whilst providing a commercially needed new source of talent for the Hospitality Sector. Simply brilliant!”
David Apparicio

Founder and CEO, Chrysalis Foundation

“I am excited and delighted that UK Hospitality will be working in partnership with Only a Pavement Away to offer real, full time job opportunities within the Hospitality Industry, to the homeless, ex-offenders and veterans. This will not only provide much needed new team members/employees for the industry, but also a helping hand to the disadvantaged which enables sustainable reintegration back into their families, local community and society as a whole.”

Kate Nicholls

CEO, UK Hospitality

“I met Greg at the start of OAPA which I recognised was an idea of its time. Subsequently he joined the Corbett Network comprising 45 rehabilitation charities with the same aim of providing jobs for ex-offenders. OAPA goes further by concentrating as well on the homeless and former veterans. I have no doubt in years to come that OAPA will have provided many hundreds of jobs to help vulnerable people rejoin society.”
Lady Valerie Corbett

Organiser, Corbett Network

“OAPA works because the employers are supportive of Crisis’s work and understand the challenges our members face. Though collaborative working, OAPA has opened up a range of roles within the Hospitality sector which provide homeless members the opportunity to go back into work and take a step forward in ending their homelessness.”
Dulal Ahmed

Employment Services Manager, Crisis

“We are delighted to be working with Only A Pavement Away and thoroughly believe in the benefits this will bring to many lives, as well as being thoroughly rewarding to us as a company. We are in an extremely fortunate position to be able to offer roles to people who don’t have any work experience, and we can offer a clear career pathway in our pubs. Generally this starts in junior level roles such as a Team Member or Kitchen Porter – we have many employees who started in these positions and through hard work and shear determination, they are now General Managers or Head Chefs of our pubs.

We have had five OAPA employees so far, and I am proud to say our managers have embraced the initiative and are keen to get involved, offering an opportunity to those in need. It is brilliant to have the ongoing support from Crisis who are there to help both their members and our managers in any situation where they may need support or advice. I would encourage any company to get involved and join us in making a difference!”

Abi Dunlop

Recruitment Manager, Young’s & Co.’s Brewery PLC



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