Advertisement
Housing

People with experience of homelessness are being given jobs in the NHS to help others

Two people who were previously homeless have been employed as healthcare social workers at a local NHS trust as part of new efforts to break down barriers into work.

People with lived experience of homelessness are being offered jobs in the NHS as part of a new pilot project designed to break down the barriers of getting a job.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has become the first NHS trust in England to recruit two healthcare social workers who were previously homeless under the new Access to Employment programme.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

In total, seven NHS trusts across the country are participating in the new scheme, which aims to understand the systemic and individual reasons people are turned away from work.

“Many people felt having experience of being homeless meant there were barriers to them getting a job,” said Jan Rutherford, a social worker involved in the project. “The training helped to encourage and empower attendees and make them feel like they were employable.

“The experience has brought me to tears. It’s all down to the successful individuals. They had the ability, they just hadn’t been given the opportunity and we’ve been able to provide that.”

The trust worked with Groundswell, a UK charity creating solutions to end homelessness, on a training course that looked at people’s past experience and transferable skills.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Article continues below

The course was open to people in stable positions, who no longer had issues with accommodation but had previously experienced homelessness.

After two months of training, CNTW offered two people posts on its homelessness team and a community treatment team within the trust.

The pair will work with people to find solutions to their problems, including helping to protect vulnerable people from harm or abuse and supporting people to live independently.

Anne-Marie Lamb, CNTW’s senior nurse international recruitment and relocation support, said: “For CNTW to be the first trust to get to this stage of the pilot is a massive achievement. The work has instilled hope and shows that everyone has an opportunity.

“It normalises people with lived experience and shows that just because you have been homeless doesn’t mean you can’t move forward.”

Big Issue Foundation

Donate to support vendors today

Your gift today will mean Big Issue vendors will get the support they need to progress forward in life. You will be supporting vendors in key areas including housing, finance, mental health and employment.

The pilot project is part of an NHS England programme to give organisations the chance to reflect on current employment practices for people with lived experiences in a bid to reduce barriers to employment.

That meant opening the door to people who have lived experiences of many of the issues the trust is trying to treat, bringing knowledge and empathy to the roles.

Rutherford added: “They’re both really passionate and looking forward to forging their careers. To have healthcare support workers with lived experience and real empathy will bring such value to the teams.”

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Sadiq Khan's Right to Buy-back scheme leads to return of 1,500 council homes
Right to Buy

Sadiq Khan's Right to Buy-back scheme leads to return of 1,500 council homes

This evaporating pavement art is highlighting how heatwaves are a threat to rough sleepers
UK HEATWAVE

This evaporating pavement art is highlighting how heatwaves are a threat to rough sleepers

Buying a home in the UK is more expensive than ever. When will house prices go down?
House Prices

Buying a home in the UK is more expensive than ever. When will house prices go down?

Renters fear landlords will pass on biggest interest rates hike in 27 years
RENTING

Renters fear landlords will pass on biggest interest rates hike in 27 years

Most Popular

Read All
All the places where kids can eat free during the summer holidays
1.

All the places where kids can eat free during the summer holidays

This Twitter bot is exposing celebrities taking three-minute private jet flights
2.

This Twitter bot is exposing celebrities taking three-minute private jet flights

Will free school meals and vouchers be offered over the summer holidays?
3.

Will free school meals and vouchers be offered over the summer holidays?

Estate agents caught saying they don't rent homes to people on benefits
4.

Estate agents caught saying they don't rent homes to people on benefits

Keep up to date with the Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.