The support we provide at Launchpad is holistic; we work with each individual as a whole. Helping with housing, support, fundamental and complementary life skills, we give our clients the very best chance of success.
Getting outdoors and into the fresh air is good for everyone. That includes the clients involved in our allotment and healthy living project. Boosting physical fitness, increasing confidence and growing something worthwhile.
Last year 95 Launchpad clients actively engaged in our Horticulture and Healthy Living project. And a further 37 individuals got involved at local organisations where we also deliver the project; Salvation Army, St Leonards, YMCA, Elizabeth Fry and Waylen Street.
Our allotment is also a crucial place where people can meet, mix and get to know each other informally, building crucial social skills and confidence in a supportive environment.
Of course, running an allotment is healthy for our clients too. They feel the satisfaction of growing and eating their own food, and they benefit from regular outdoor exercise and activity.
Using food grown on the allotment, our clients learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget – improving their diet and developing life skills.
We’ve evolved our allotment and healthy living project and now have chickens at the YMCA and Elizabeth Fry. They have been welcomed warmly and are helping us to build relationships with people who could move on into Launchpad housing.
Bees are vital to our food chain but are in danger of disappearing. We’re doing our bit to save the planet by getting our clients involved in beekeeping. We have a flourishing hive near town and hope that next year we will supply local cafes with our very own honey to sell.
Being able to talk through problems makes a world of difference. Sometimes people need our help because of deep-rooted issues. Without acknowledging and talking these through, people cannot move on with their life and break vicious cycles. Having someone who’ll listen puts things in perspective and makes you realise that you’re not on your own.
Many of our clients don’t have friends capable of meeting for a supportive chat, and don’t have the money for professional counselling.
We work with student counsellors to provide our clients in Reading with crucial counselling when it’s needed. Counselling can rescue a deteriorating situation or give clients a boost at the perfect moment. It’s vital they don’t have to wait to talk to someone.
The partnership is simple. Student counsellors have to gain experience of counselling as part of their training. We pay for their training supervision, and they sit down with our clients.
Counselling is crucial for our clients. Having someone to talk to confidentially and constructively gives people confidence to take practical steps forward, so they can get on with living their lives.
Friendly and short sessions help clients manage their money and make it go further. The course includes the chance for clients to practice their new skills at a local supermarket, where they are given £10 to spend on healthy cooking ingredients.
Helping with self-expression without the need for words. Our clients can get involved in lot of different art mediums and have even showcased their work at exhibitions alongside established local artists. During the summer months we paint the famous Launchpad wall along the alley into Merchants Place. We’ve even made giant decorated letters for the Readipop festival.
Practical skills on a budget. Our volunteers provide one-to-one support to make home furnishings such as cushions. Useful sewing skills such as taking up hems are also taught and one client even made her own dress.
There are always lots of wacky seasonal ideas to get involved with too including Christmas and Easter decorations.
We run other activities and workshops throughout the year but not every week. These have included fishing, creative writing, bike maintenance and a busking workshop.
Our timetable generates a hive of activity to complement the work Karen, our Education, Training and Employment Co-ordinator, does with our clients. It helps us to take a holistic approach towards helping people gain the skills needed to move on from Launchpad and make a success of their lives.
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