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Made up of four individually tailored programmes, providing employment skills, work experience, and opportunities to volunteer, the new scheme will create opportunities for people across the city.
The Salvation Army’s goal through Strawberry Field is to help even more people to realise their dreams.
Previously Steps to Work was only available to those aged 18-25, but the team recognised the need to increase the portfolio of programmes, which are now open to those of all ages who may have learning difficulties or other barriers to employment.
Alongside Steps to Work, the new scheme will now include ‘Steps to Work lite’, a more condensed version of the original Steps to Work, ‘Steps to Volunteer’, for those who want to take the next step in their volunteering journey and receive a formal qualification, and ‘Recycles’, a hands on programme based at the Recycles project in Liverpool City Centre.
“It is an exciting time for Strawberry Field as thanks to additional funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), we are able to introduce additional programmes and reach out to more people across the Liverpool City Region.”
Nationally, opportunities are limited for working age adults with learning disabilities – only between 6% and 7% are in paid employment. Steps at Strawberry Field tackles these obstacles for every person it works with, supporting them to reach their full potential.
“The expansion to the programme will, we hope, prove a godsend to the many individuals whose aspirations of gainful employment have been pushed even further out of reach by the pandemic. We want them to know we are pulling out all the stops to support them in realising their dreams and in harnessing their unique potential, so that together we can build better, more inclusive and diverse workplaces.”
The Salvation Army site, made famous by John Lennon in The Beatles hit ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ opened its iconic red gates to the public for the first time in 2019. Previously the site of a Salvation Army children’s home where the young John Lennon played in the grounds, the new visitor centre and training hub continues the legacy of caring for young people in the local community through Steps at Strawberry Field.
Profits from the exciting visitor experience – including an interactive exhibition, café, shop and gardens – go back towards funding the programmes, with additional funding also provided by the ESF.
The original Steps to Work programme started in October 2018 and is now on its 5th cohort of trainees. It has even continued through the pandemic restrictions with the creation of ‘Steps from Home’, a series of virtual workshops, online learning and wellbeing sessions, which can be completed anywhere.
As soon as restrictions allow, the team and trainees will be back on site, continuing their journey into work and beginning the new series of programmes.
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