Minister Theresa May and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid visited the Thames
Reach Employment Academy in Camberwell today, to meet the formerly homeless
people using the services there and the staff that support them.
part of an announcement on £50m of government funding for homelessness
including £20m going into initiatives across the capital.
will be used in new homelessness prevention schemes and new approaches to help
people sleeping rough.
The Employment Academy,
owned and managed by Thames Reach, is a dedicated multi-agency service backed
by Southwark and Lambeth local authorities. The two boroughs are both set to receive funding to pilot
new ways of preventing homelessness and rough sleeping in London.
The Prime Minister and
Communities Secretary met Jeremy Swain, Chief Executive of Thames Reach, and
spoke to staff and service users. The academy helps people who are homeless or
at risk of homelessness to find employment by offering a range of services
including IT, literacy and numeracy classes, practical courses in painting and
decorating and direct contact with employers for people ready to move into
Jeremy Swain, Thames Reach
Chief Executive, said: “We were delighted to host this visit, which provided a
wonderful opportunity for the homeless people who use our services to talk
directly with the Prime Minister and Communities Secretary about their
experiences and aspirations.
“We know that improving
skills and finding work is one of the most effective ways of escaping
homelessness for good, and I am proud that 60 of my very able colleagues at
Thames Reach are former homeless people and tremendous role models.
prevention funding is extremely welcome and provides a platform for the renewal
of our collective efforts to end the scourge of rough sleeping in this country.”
Denise Vilanou, a Thames
Reach support worker, said: “It was delightful to meet the prime minister at
the Employment Academy and see her giving up her time to meet people who were
once homeless, but had been helped to find work and get their lives back on
“Today she met many people
who had moved from using services to finding work in the homelessness sector,
where they provide much needed support to others.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“In the run up to Christmas, images of soup kitchens and hostels remind
us of the vital lifeline provided by charities and local services to those
facing a night on the streets.
“But today I have witnessed a different kind of support, one which seeks
to stop people ending up on the street altogether by providing assistance to
address their most immediate needs and crucially giving them the skills and
opportunities which can help them build a more secure future for themselves.
“Services like those I have seen today are vital in helping everybody
realise their potential, no matter what their personal circumstances as we
create a country that truly works for everyone.”
Find out more about Thames
Reach’s Christmas Campaign and support Thames Reach’s work with rough sleepers,