Thames Reach
Monday 20 November 2017
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Escaping homelessness and finding work

14 March 2017


Peter Cheasman Portrait
Peter now has a labouring job after receiving support from Thames Reach

A year ago, Peter was sleeping rough – now he is not only housed but he has just been offered a job.

Peter got the job as a labourer after a six-week stint of work experience with Tideway, the company building London’s new ‘super sewer’, the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

He had been put forward for the work experience by staff at Thames Reach’s Employment Academy in Camberwell which is helping unemployed and economically disadvantaged people find jobs in the capital.

This followed the hard-working Peter’s successful participation in its Moving In Moving On painting and decorating training scheme.

Peter had been referred to the Employment Academy by Diana Bejarano, an assistant support worker at Thames Reach’s Spectrum Centre in Camden, where he had sought support during a three-month spell of sleeping rough. Diana helped him firstly find temporary accommodation and then a room of his own in a shared house in the private rented sector.

Helping people off the streets is vital for their well-being but Thames Reach staff also recognise the importance of employment in helping people move away from the shadow cast by homelessness. Finding work helps people increase their income, reduces reliance on welfare benefits and improves their self-esteem, health and social networks.

Peter is delighted to have found work. When he was sleeping rough he was anxious and depressed but now he feels optimistic about his future. “I was down. No home and no job but now I have a roof over my head and I’m about to start work again.

“I worked for 42 years and have always had a job but when I ended up on the streets I had nothing. I’m thrilled and over the moon to get this opportunity.”

Rob Townsend, an assistant support worker at the Employment Academy and who put Peter forward for the work experience was thrilled too. “It’s great Tideway have offered him a job and he’s deserved it through his own hard work.

“My aim is to help people develop their skills and have a better chance of finding employment – it’s very uplifting to see Peter seize his opportunity.”