Thames Reach women use new painting skills to makeover community centre in Peckham

Women complete six week painting and decorating course at Thames Reach Employment Academy

Thames Reach women use new painting skills to makeover community centre in Peckham

A group of female trainees have successfully completed Moving In Moving On (MIMO), a six-week painting and decorating course based at the Thames Reach Employment Academy in Camberwell and the Bells Gardens Community Centre in Peckham.

The Thames Reach MIMO project, funded by the MariaMarina Foundation, aims to help people who may be vulnerable, socially isolated or those who have experienced long-term unemployment to build practical skills, confidence and friendships in a safe and focused environment, and prepare them in finding future employment.

The women spent the first three weeks at Thames Reach Employment Academy where they learnt basic painting and decorating skills in the classroom such as preparing surfaces, plastering, health and safety in the workplace and intricate stencil designs enabling them to create their own artwork.

On the final three weeks of the course, the trainees put their skills to the test in a real life setting as they redecorated the entire front of reception at the Bells Gardens Community Centre in Peckham, giving it a fresh new feel. A huge task which was well received from all staff members at the centre.

Margaret Onwuta, Senior Manager at the Bells Gardens Community Centre spoke about the project saying;

“On behalf of the organisation, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the ladies for a job well done.

“When I met with them initially I was not sure of what to expect until they started preparing the area.

“They were a lovely group who not only got on well with each other, but with our staff team and visitors”.

On completion of the course, each woman was presented with a certificate in recognition of their achievement and commitment. They now have the opportunity to undertake accredited City & Guilds training in painting skills which will be delivered at the Employment Academy in partnership with Flower Skills Training – an organisation providing specialist training and development for working in the construction sector.

The women spoke fondly of their time on the course and the chance it gave them to express themselves creatively and develop practical skills, all whilst getting to know a team of other women in similar life situations.

One lady, who has been a resident at Thames Reach’s Lambeth High Street hostel for the last year-and-a-half after losing her flat, spoke about her experience on MIMO, saying:

“To be honest, I thought it would be boring. But now I’m glad I took part.

“We were given a lot of choice and freedom to express ourselves on MIMO and the course educated me in areas that I never knew.

“It’s definitely helped improve my confidence and now I’m looking at doing other courses, maybe another six week course or a yearlong one”.

Another trainee described the course as;

“A very interactive and fun course which gives practical skills and confidence to be in social environments.

“It brings you out of your shell and helps create a sense of independence.

“I now want to try my hand at gardening”.

Historically, the outcomes of this course have been highly impressive with trainees going on to further their skills and knowledge, gain accredited City & Guilds qualifications and find and sustain employment.

Thames Reach is committed to supporting men and women with complex and multiple needs, and will continue to evolve its services ensuring every service user is supported to move away from homelessness

Learn about Thames Reach employment and skills services