Anyone who has started their own business will vouch that it's a fairly challenging experience. Imagine then, how difficult it would be if you'd recently been homeless. If you're in that situation now, don't give in: it is possible. What's more, there is help available.
What is Crisis and the Changing Lives programme?
The experience of homelessness is incredibly damaging and debilitating, often eroding confidence and skills, which make the journey back more difficult. The national homelessness charity Crisis and Barclays have been working in partnership since 2002 on the Crisis Changing Lives programme. In that time, Changing Lives has provided 319 financial awards to people who are homeless or settling into new homes and looking for support so that they can achieve their vocational goals and realise their career and life ambitions.
Changing Lives was set up to provide individuals who have experienced exclusion through homelessness with a chance to take control of their lives again. Getting housed after being homeless is only part of the road back to living a full and enriching life. The aim is to empower homeless people to build their confidence and gain or regain the essential skills necessary to move forward towards self-help, independence and work, and a permanent move away from homelessness.
Changing Lives is supported by Barclays community investment programme as part of the banks on-going commitment to social and financial inclusion. The programme aims to help Crisis and Barclays meet their wider objectives including: -
Offering long-term security. Changing Lives responds to the recognition of the fact that providing a roof over someone’s head is only the first step on the route out of the despair of homelessness and towards a more secure future. Changing Lives empowers homeless people to build their confidence and gain, or re-gain, the essential skills necessary to enable them to move forward to self-help, independence and work.
Uncovering hidden talents. It is apparent that there is a rich seam of potential amongst homeless people. Crisis research has highlighted that 74% of Changing Lives recipients has worked previous to becoming homeless. 17% has held managerial positions. One in ten has been self-employed or ran a business. Many homeless people possess a wealth of skills and experience.
Harnessing motivation. The research also displayed the levels of determination and motivation that are needed to change their lives, disproving the misconception that homeless people are lazy and unmotivated.
Successful applicants will:
Have worked out well-planned achievable objectives leading to vocational goals.
Have shown focus on achieving their goals.
Have shown self-initiative in finding out the possibilities and are pro-active in working towards achieving their goals.
- Have started to take charge of their lives and have made positive changes to move forward.
For all the Changing Lives recipients, receiving a financial award is a life changing experience. For many, this experience has resulted in real positive change.
- 80% of recipients have achieved their short-term objectives.
- 32% have undertaken work / work placements / voluntary work, helping them achieve a level of independence.
- 70% have gained new friends, helping to increase their social skills, confidence and self-esteem.
- 46% have gained new hobbies.
- 71% reported an increase in their confidence and self-esteem.
To contact Crisis and for more information on the Changing Lives Programme, visit: www.crisis.org.uk