14th September 2021

Helping people in recovery: An insight into the West of England Works Programme

Broadway Lodge are a proud partner of the West of England Works Building Better Opportunities programme which is a supportive scheme funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

West of England Works is led by Weston College and aims to help people located within our region who face barriers to employment into training, education or work. Broadway Lodge have a dedicated West of England Works team who supports anyone eligible who is in recovery from addiction to access education, courses, training and paid and voluntary work.

The support offered by our team also includes:

  • Help with CV creation
  • Interview preparation
  • College enrolment assistance
  • Course application assistance
  • One to one recovery support
  • Weekly aftercare groups to help participants stay on track with their recovery

The West of England Works-dedicated team at Broadway Lodge expanded earlier this year following a positive surge in participant numbers so we were pleased to welcome Sophie as Project Worker. For the past five months, Sophie (pictured below) has been busy assisting participants in the multitude of areas we help with and she has documented some of the successes in a piece she’s written below that demonstrates how valued the programme is as well as how rewarding and fulfilling it is to be able to work with participants from an employee’s perspective.

 

Written by Sophie, Project Worker at Broadway Lodge for the West of England Works programme

My name is Sophie, I’m 25 years old, I’m from Weston-Super-Mare and I have been a Project Worker with West of England Works/Broadway Lodge for the last 5 months. I wanted this job because I like to help people. I wanted to see individuals grow and work towards a positive future and I hoped to play a small part in supporting them to do that.

In the time that I have worked here, I have met many participants in the project, some that have been here for years, some that are at the beginning of their recovery journey and some that unfortunately left before they even got started. Everyone’s journey is so different. No one’s story is the same. But for the most part, I’ve gotten to see participants thrive and make big, positive changes in their lives.

Tuesday’s are ‘Aftercare’ day. Participants come to group therapy in the morning and afternoon. No group is ever the same. Some days groups are emotional, some days they’re dramatic and some days groups are full of laughs and encouragement. I get to watch participants support and relate to each other each week. I’ve seen them make connections and build relationships. They really help each other. Something I really love about Aftercare is the amount of times I’ve heard people call it a “safe space”. It makes me happy to know that people can come here and feel safe to let out their emotions and be vulnerable with each other.

In my job I do things like help participants with CVs, find courses for participants and help them to apply for them, progress reviews and other types of 1-1 support. I’d like to highlight a few of my favourite moments in my job role.

A few months ago, I helped a young woman create a CV so that she could apply for the job that she wanted. A few weeks later she came to the community Hub and she told me that she had a job interview! She wanted to thank me for helping her with her CV so that she could get to this point. She was so excited, and it meant a lot to me that I could help her in some small way. I found out shortly after that she got the job!

This week I received a text message from a participant who I had been supporting in getting a place for college to do his first A Level. He said “I am officially enrolled… thank you so much for all your help on this. I cannot begin to describe how much it means to me to be getting my life back on track in this way”. That message meant the world to me. I was so pleased for him, knowing how much he wanted this. I’m excited to see him start this new journey.

Lastly, a couple months ago we were asked to pilot a new programme called the Community Education Programme. The goal was for participants to complete 69+ hours of community activities to achieve a certificate that they could put on their CV, and to have use of the Weston College facilities. I was given the opportunity to plan a lot the activities for the programme, which was so much fun. We did things like, acupuncture, tennis, creative writing, dog therapy, sound therapy etc. I loved organising these activities and watching our participants enjoy themselves and get so much out of each one. I also appreciated this time as I was able to build relationships with our participants and get to know them better.

West of England Works is a safe space for people in recovery to come, share their emotions, and work towards a better future, and I am happy to be playing a small part to support them in that space.

 

Click here if you’d like to read more about the West of England Works programme.