Active links made with Sailship and Moat

During July our EPUT delivery partners were happy to sign up 11 new participants to receive support from the HeadsUp programme. Operating across central and eastern parts of Essex the team have been out and about promoting all that the project has to offer people who are unemployed, but feel ready to take their first steps back into work or training.

We make links with many local employers and organisations both to promote the benefits of HeadsUp generally but also to forge links where our participants may be able to volunteer or get work experience. One participant has been spending time at Sailship in Clacton, a life/work skills centre for adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health support needs. They offer support through gardening and crafting and they also have a commercial kitchen. Our participant who had not worked for a long time, initially volunteered at the centre which became a part time paid position almost instantly. He has since been offered a full time, paid position once Sailship receive next year’s funding which is such a fantastic outcome.

HeadsUp have also had space at Moat’s community hub in Maldon where participants can use the space to update CV’s, apply for job applications, prepare for an interview etc. The hub houses visits from many local organisations so it will be a great link to network and signpost participants to relevant courses/activities to build their confidence.

Brushing up on those IT skills ……

One of the most common things we hear from participants is that they worry their computer skills are not up to scratch. It’s a fact of life now that very often we will need at least a basic ability with a computer, but it can be quite daunting thinking about how to brush up on those skills.

Here at HeadsUp we’ve developed a programme which can help participants overcome those fears. We’re currently holding sessions at the Moat Foundation in Maldon (they have very kindly let us use their venue for free- part of their passion for supporting local communities) and we are looking to roll out the programme throughout Essex. Starting with the very basics such as how to turn a computer on, by the end of the sessions you will be confidently searching online for jobs and uploading your digital CV as you apply. The pace is up to you: by following the clear instructions you can take your time until you are comfortable with each step.

Every now and then we will also get an employer to pop in to have a chat about job applications and how to give yourself the best chance of success, so if this sounds like the kind of thing you’d find useful please get in touch.

‘The Truth’ and a journey back to work …

All too often, we allow ourselves to feel trapped by something that happened in the past- either recently or a long time ago. From exam grades to criminal records, too little work-experience to too much time spent in one job, we frequently tell ourselves that “No one will want me”, or “No one will give me a chance”. This can make us feel even more anxious when looking for work, education or training.
It’s always worth finding out “The Truth”. It might be that certain parts of our past will get in the way of our aspirations, but unless we ask the questions we will never really know. Once we know “The Truth” of the situation, we can do something about it: if we really do need a grade C or above at maths then we can access courses to help us; but as one of our participants found recently, sometimes experience of using maths skills in the workplace (e.g. behind a checkout or at a desk) can trump the need for going back to the classroom.
Criminal records are a bit more complicated, and people are sometimes unwilling to discuss this aspect of their lives with strangers. I have built up a bit of experience in this field, but the best resource out there is the charity Unlock ( . They have a range of tools to help people break through the complexities that can arise, a list of types of role and required level of DBS check, and information about employers who are keen to support people return to the workplace. Very few people in the UK get life-sentences, so please don’t feel trapped in one because of something you’ve done in the past. There are plenty of us out here who want to help you move forward.
I’ve previously written about trying to break away from an industry you’ve always worked in. There are also those who haven’t worked for a long time and worry about “The Gap” in their work history. There are many employers out there for whom this isn’t the issue you might think. Throughout September I’ve been helping several of our participants apply for seasonal roles with the Royal Mail, who operate a Social Inclusion Partner scheme. Through this scheme they offer streamlined applications to people who need a bit of a boost to help them towards employment, just one example of where The Gap doesn’t matter.

Jobs Fairs, MP discussions and Employer Events

The end of May saw HeadsUp at a Job Fair in Southend where we met a range of employers, signed up some potential new participants, and got to discuss how our programme helps the constituents of Sir David Amess MP and James Duddridge MP (both pictured). What is always striking is the value that people see in what we do by helping people to overcome anxiety or depression, and how often they are able to refer to experiences of their own or of those that they know in order to truly appreciate the importance of HeadsUp.

A few days later we were running one of our own employer engagement events in Chelmsford. Ten participants came along to hear from Asda and Farleigh Hospice. Tracey and Tanno from Asda spoke about what it is like to work in their branch specifically, before talking about live job opportunities. Debbie spoke about the importance of volunteers to Farleigh’s operation, and also pointed to the paid roles that exist within the organisation. Both parties then held a series of one to one meetings with participants, providing advice and feedback regarding possible applications. We rounded off the day with a general session on job-searching skills.

Out and about in Essex for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Partnership working – Spreading the word!

HeadsUp celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 by sharing the theme of ‘Body Positivity’ throughout Essex with information stands in shopping centres communicating positive messages about our bodies and general wellbeing with members of the community.

HeadsUp also co-organised two events in Mid and North Essex with Health in Mind (Mid Essex IAPT) and Mid and North East Essex Mind. By partnership working in this way we were able to reach a broader audience for our wellbeing workshops. HeadsUp, IAPT and Mind had the opportunity to promote their services but along with the varied organisations in attendance we could also provide an information market place all about enhancing wellbeing and good Mental Health.

Across the whole week we chatted with a variety of people and took details from 20+ people who believed they might benefit from the support HeadsUp can provide them in taking a step back into job searching, training or employment.

We had great feedback from both members of the public attending workshops and about the event in general which just goes to shows what can be achieved when working in collaboration.