Skills – Humankind

Apprentice Success at Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support Service

Jack Keery

Four apprentices from Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support service based at our Home Intensive Treatment hubs have secured future employment after working with the support service for over a year.

Our Teesside Crisis Peer Support service provides people with additional support if they are accessing the mental health crisis service, working alongside mental health teams, doctors and consultants.

Peer supporters are people who have had lived experience of mental health issues and offer both practical and listening support, as well as the chance to talk to others who may be experiencing similar issues.

The apprentice roles were advertised for people with lived experience of mental health issues, and six apprentices have been in post for over twelve months. Two have now gained employment with the NHS and two have undertaken support roles within Humankind’s Drug & Alcohol services helping dual diagnosis clients, whilst two others are still carrying out their roles as part of the Home Intensive team.

Janet Serginson, Assistant Director for the North East at Humankind and Manager of the service said:

“We’re extremely pleased with the success of the Crisis Peer Support Service and are delighted that four apprentices have secured employment.

We’re hoping to be successful in the future to support Crisis Mental Health Services users with this critical peer programme that has helped to support so many people overcome a difficult time in their lives.”

Meanwhile, five apprentices from Humankind’s Teesside Crisis Peer Support, based in the Home Intensive Treatment hubs, have been recording their experiences in work journals that shed a new light on how they are progressing.

Their diary entries offer an interesting insight into the work they have supported and how it has helped to develop their skills. The peer apprentices have been encouraged by Eileen Greaves of the Teesside Crisis Peer Support to keep reflective journals that comment on their improvement over the time they have learning.

“I’m absolutely delighted that our students have achieved so much,” Janet Serginson continued. “Their sense of enjoyment and achievement really stands out and we’re really happy that the apprentice scheme has provided them all with the foundations to build a rewarding career.”

The apprentice comments can be read below:

I’m now coming near to the end of my apprenticeship and hoping to be in a position as a support worker. I would recommend this apprenticeship to others that have been in my position because, before I started this, I recovered from my mental health a very long journey and had 6 years of believing that I was unemployable – how wrong I was.” – Steven Moolgaoker

The apprenticeship gave me light and hope when I didn’t believe I could make the changes I needed to in my recovery. The apprenticeship has been life changing for me and it has allowed me to overcome so many obstacles I thought I couldn’t.” – Ellie Wallbank

I feel this is only the beginning of my journey and what a fantastic start to have. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity as I had mental ill health and being in my early sixties never thought this opportunity would be open to me, Humankind are an inclusive organisation and have shown me I can achieve my dreams.” Colin Wood

Professionally I have learned so many skills and been responsible for my own work and working alongside professionals I would have never had that opportunity. The opportunities have been incredible but as well as that I have gained a qualification while working my way up into a paid role. Humankind have given me this opportunity and a second chance whilst using my own lived experience.” George Bell

I didn’t think I’d ever work again or be able to hold a job down but each day I’m proving myself wrong and can feel myself continuing to grow as a person.” Callum O ‘Keeffe

Humankind retains Investing in Volunteers Award

Jack Keery

We are delighted to reveal that Humankind has been successful in retaining our Investing in Volunteers award for a third time.

Humankind first gained the award in 2015 and underwent our second renewal in August 2021, demonstrating our commitment to volunteering as a national charity.

“Supporting volunteers runs throughout all Humankind’s teams, services, and projects, and is embedded in the organisation’s ethos and values.”

Our assessor sought evidence against six quality areas: vision, planning, inclusion, recruitment and induction, support, and valuing and developing volunteers.

Evidence was gathered through a self-assessment, a portfolio and three days of interviews. Twenty-six volunteers shared their experience of volunteering at Humankind.

“I have better support here than all the jobs I’ve ever had, the staff here that go that extra mile – fantastic.” Humankind volunteer 

As an organisation, we take great pride in our Volunteer Programme and our offer to each individual volunteer.

“We are definitely made to feel part of the team, all the staff and all the volunteers are great, it feels like I’m part of a really big, happy family.” – Humankind volunteer

As Humankind have invested in support for people’s wellbeing, we have done the same for volunteers. This was recognised during the assessment, which stated:

“There is recognition that the continuous support volunteers enjoy has a huge positive impact on the recruitment of volunteers, their wellbeing, their personal development, retention of volunteers, and their feeling of being valued.”

We want to give a huge thank you to our Volunteer Coordinators, Leads and Supervisors for delivering an award winning Volunteer Programme!

Humankind’s 2020/21 Volunteer Programme at a glance:

• We appointed 97 new volunteers.
• Our volunteers have kindly given 10,604 hours of their own time to support others – that’s 209 hours every week of the year!
• 17 of our volunteer leavers left to enter education, training or employment.
• 7 (41%) of those who entered employment accepted roles within Humankind services.

Read more in our 2020/21 Impact Report.

International Literacy Day 2021

Jack Keery

​​​​​​​A Humankind service in Merseyside have been actively helping their residents with literacy skills.

Lesley Campbell and Jennifer Ogden from Sefton Homeless Services have recently refurbished a meeting room on site to include a dedicated lending library and reading area which residents can use if they need a nice, quiet and comfortable space away from their own flats.

Residents use this space to read, reflect and even write poetry or use adult colouring books as a way of clearing their minds and to have some “Me Time”. This can often be useful before or after key sessions to allow them to relax.

Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.

Today, we celebrate, encourage and empower our residents, clients and staff to strengthen their own literacy skills. That can be something simple like making time to read a much-loved book or even taking those first steps in learning to read and write.

International Literacy Day provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond. It also provides an opportunity to analyse the role of educators, as well as effective policies, systems, governance and measures that can support educators and learning.​​​​​​​

Further support and information for adult literacy

  • Visit the gov.uk site for improving your English skills, or call the National Careers Service helpline on 0800 100 900.
  • If the adult is employed and has access to a union, their union learning representative will be able to provide confidential advice. Information is on the Union Learn website.
  • You could also contact a local adult education college directly for information on courses, or your local library can provide support such as appropriate reading materials and reading groups.
  • Adults can also get literacy support in their role as parents, through family learning activity provided by colleges, libraries, schools and other organisations. Being able to become more involved in their children’s learning can be a powerful motivator to adults to improve their literacy skills.
  • Read Easy recruits, trains and supports volunteers to give one-to-one tuition to adults who struggle with reading.
  • The Learning and Work Institute aims to improve access to learning for adults.
  • The Reading Agency provides a number of free resources to help improve adult reading skills.
  • Learn Direct provides online courses and a network of learning centres. Call 0800 101 901 for advice and information on their adult literacy courses.
  • English My Way is a resource for tutors who support and teach adults with no or low levels of English, providing free teaching resources and tools to manage classes.

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