Local people are to have more support available in finding work thanks to a new £2.35m project based in Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth. Work Well, funded by the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund, and the European Social Fund, officially launched on Wednesday 11th July with a celebratory event held at The Artworks Elephant in Elephant and Castle.
The event consisted of 60 guests from, Jobcentre Plus’ across Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, Local Colleges and Training providers such as Southwark College and Adult Learning Lewisham, charities such as Mind and Age UK plus and a number of staff members from the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
Jo Kent, Service Director at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust introduced proceedings and took the opportunity to wish the NHS a happy 70th Birthday and welcomed Work Well to the Trust. Speaking at the event, Claire Wrynne, Project Manager for Employment Services at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust:
“We are thrilled to have received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund’s Building Better Opportunities programme for our brand new project – Work Well! Over the next year and a half we will support over 900 local residents with common mental health problems in Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark to move towards paid employment. Our fantastic Career Coaches work closely with individuals and employers to find a perfect job match and improve well-being. Our aim is not just to help people get a job, but to make a real difference to their lives.”
Whilst Work Well celebrated it’s ‘official’ launch, the project has been helping local people since February and has already helped 141 with searching for work with 6 now in paid employment. Two of these service users appeared during the event. Cristina, from Lewisham stood up and told guests about her struggle to find paid work since moving to the UK from Barcelona in 2013 and the impact it has had on her mental health since.
Keith Morkel, another service user from Lewisham pre-recorded a short message which was played at the event:
“I was seen very quickly, I met my career coach and it immediately made me feel better because she instilled confidence in me which I think I’d lost, because she was confident in herself as to the strategy and the way forward. She had a can-do attitude like ‘this is going to happen’, ‘you will be employed’ but there were certain things that needed to happen. I showed her my CV and she made comments and I changed the CV to make it more attractive and more competitive. I look forward to the sessions which were once a week because there was always something that made me feel OK, I’m not alone, someone’s listening to me, someone is taking me seriously.
The video recording went on to share that Keith was offered paid employment that day, as a carer for vulnerable people in the local area.
Work Well has been setup to help people experiencing common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress, to find paid work. The project was founded in 2017 and targets over 25’s in the London boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth. The project aims to support over 900 local residents.
Work Well has been developed by the Career Management Service at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and funded by the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund, and European Social Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme.
Work Well is now fully staffed with a team of 13 Career Coaches and are taking referrals across Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth. The referral process is simple, anyone can contact Work Well for a telephone screening to check for eligibility. Registered clients are typically seen within 1 – 2 weeks from a successful screening and can meet with their designated Career Coach up to once a week at a site most convenient for them.