Building on the nurturing and accepting relationship between a young person and a grandparent, Volunteering Matters recruits, trains and supports volunteer mentors who are aged 50 plus, and otherwise known as ‘Grandmentors’, to use their skills and experience to provide bespoke mentoring for young people leaving care. Set up in 2009 and working with Islington Council, the Grandmentor scheme is most valuable in that the care leavers know and appreciate that these mentors are volunteers, not part of the care system and are giving their time for free. Results show that after six months, 95 per cent of care leavers supported by Grandmentors were in education, employment or training, compared to the national rate of 49 per cent.
Smart Works exists to help unemployed women into work, by growing their interview skills, and providing them with professional clothes to boost their confidence. Women are more likely to have breaks in their employment record due to caring responsibilities and many of Smart Works’ clients have applied for a significant number of jobs before coming to the charity. The charity works alongside the prison service, care service, homeless shelter and refuges to help their clients. It also works alongside a number of high profile fashion labels.
The Trussell Trust
Every day people in the UK go hungry because they are in crisis and temporarily do not have enough money to buy food. Having been made aware of the problem of “hidden hunger” by a local mother, the Trust’s founders Paddy and Carol Henderson launched the first Trussell Trust foodbank from their garden shed in 2000. They went on to develop the principles that hold firm today: all food should be donated and volunteers should be enlisted to administer the food and provide non-judgemental emotional support.
Blue Sky Development & Regeneration
Ten years ago, ex-bank robber Steve Finn met Mick May, an ex-banker, and the two of them decided to do something about the ‘revolving prison door’ problem that sees nearly two-thirds of all offenders released from prison go on to commit more crime within two years. They set up Blue Sky, “the only company in the country where you need a criminal record to work there” – an employment agency that provides labour for entry-level vacancies within local authorities and, more recently, private sector firms that deliver public services.