Launchpad rebuilds the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with a range of therapeutic activities, and support with education, training and employment.
Our support is holistic. We know that helping our clients to socialise in a safe space, develop coping strategies, build self-esteem and confidence and learn new skills gives them the very best chance of success.
Financial Skills for Independence project
Our Financial Skills for Independence project arms clients who are due to leave the service after a period of support with life-changing financial management skills. The project, which focuses on topics such as debt management, budgeting and claiming benefits, teaches clients how to avoid financial difficulties, manage their money, sustain a tenancy and remain independent.
The project has been funded by Nationwide Community Grants and NatWest’s Skills & Opportunities Fund, following a competition which asked the public to vote on a project they believed to be the most beneficial for the community.
Education, training and employment (ETE)
Our clients have aspirations for their future, just like the rest of us. Our ETE service, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, gives them the opportunity to work towards their goals – whether it’s learning how to use a computer, improving reading and writing skills, getting paid employment or pursuing a new interest.
Our ETE team works with clients to identify what they’d like to achieve or their ambitions for their life, and puts together a plan to help them get there. Following support from our ETE team, which includes many dedicated volunteers, this year some of our clients have gone on to study English after struggling to read and write, secure a placement with the NHS, start a job as a cleaner, and begin setting up their own business.
Our ETE team helps clients with:
- Numeracy and literacy
- IT skills
- CV and interview skills
- Job searching
- Accessing education and training opportunities
- Overcoming employment barriers e.g. criminal records, lack of qualifications
- Filling in applications
- Travel costs and getting suitable interview clothes
- Online learning such as touch typing, and food hygiene and construction skills certificates
Wellbeing is something Launchpad feels passionately about. Encouraging clients to talk things through, enjoy activities they might not normally get to do and practise self-care in a supportive environment all help to build self-esteem and confidence, as well as develop coping strategies for the future.
Our wellbeing programme offers:
At Launchpad’s allotment clients sow seeds, care for them as they grow and harvest vegetables – in order to exercise outdoors, learn about gardening and healthy eating, build social skills and increase their confidence. Using food grown on the allotment, our clients also learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget, improving their diet and developing crucial life skills.
Many of our clients don’t have friends or family they can meet with for a supportive chat or don’t have the money for professional counselling. Launchpad’s counselling service offers clients a safe place to talk through their problems and an opportunity to tackle deep-rooted issues with qualified counsellors. We also offer art therapy – which uses art as a mode of expression and communication to address emotional issues.
- Relaxation and self-care
When things are chaotic and you’re trying to overcome a particularly difficult time in your life, self-care can often take a back-seat and relaxing may become difficult. Launchpad’s Sparty (spa party) Days offer clients some space to pamper themselves, have their hair cut and try out personal grooming products. Our relaxation sessions encourage meditation and mindfulness to help clients calm their mind and improve mental wellbeing.
- Activities and workshops
The activities and workshops we run give clients an opportunity to try new things, step out of their comfort zone, recognise their capabilities and build their self-esteem – and have included indoor climbing, fishing, creative writing, bike maintenance and a busking workshop.
- Arts and crafts
Launchpad’s arts and crafts programme offers a therapeutic outlet for clients and an opportunity to learn practical skills. Our sewing classes teach clients to make home furnishings, such as cushions, and how to hem clothes – and one client even made her own dress. Clients can express themselves through art and have showcased their work at exhibitions, painted the famous Launchpad wall along the alley into Merchants Place and created murals at the YMCA in Reading.
Helping people get back into work is something Launchpad is passionate about, which is why we coordinate the distribution of The Big Issue in Reading. This means recruiting and training Big Issue vendors, monitoring pitches in the town, and managing the income from weekly sales of Big Issue. Big Issue vendors are not always Launchpad clients but they are either homeless, at risk of losing their home or don’t have a stable place to live. By selling the newspaper, they are able to work for a living as they receive £1.25 from each sale.