International Literacy Day 2021

Jack Keery

​​​​​​​A Humankind service in Merseyside have been actively helping their residents with literacy skills.

Lesley Campbell and Jennifer Ogden from Sefton Homeless Services have recently refurbished a meeting room on site to include a dedicated lending library and reading area which residents can use if they need a nice, quiet and comfortable space away from their own flats.

Residents use this space to read, reflect and even write poetry or use adult colouring books as a way of clearing their minds and to have some “Me Time”. This can often be useful before or after key sessions to allow them to relax.

Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.

Today, we celebrate, encourage and empower our residents, clients and staff to strengthen their own literacy skills. That can be something simple like making time to read a much-loved book or even taking those first steps in learning to read and write.

International Literacy Day provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond. It also provides an opportunity to analyse the role of educators, as well as effective policies, systems, governance and measures that can support educators and learning.​​​​​​​

Further support and information for adult literacy

  • Visit the gov.uk site for improving your English skills, or call the National Careers Service helpline on 0800 100 900.
  • If the adult is employed and has access to a union, their union learning representative will be able to provide confidential advice. Information is on the Union Learn website.
  • You could also contact a local adult education college directly for information on courses, or your local library can provide support such as appropriate reading materials and reading groups.
  • Adults can also get literacy support in their role as parents, through family learning activity provided by colleges, libraries, schools and other organisations. Being able to become more involved in their children’s learning can be a powerful motivator to adults to improve their literacy skills.
  • Read Easy recruits, trains and supports volunteers to give one-to-one tuition to adults who struggle with reading.
  • The Learning and Work Institute aims to improve access to learning for adults.
  • The Reading Agency provides a number of free resources to help improve adult reading skills.
  • Learn Direct provides online courses and a network of learning centres. Call 0800 101 901 for advice and information on their adult literacy courses.
  • English My Way is a resource for tutors who support and teach adults with no or low levels of English, providing free teaching resources and tools to manage classes.

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Humankind expands successful IPS service

Jack Keery

A worker lifts boxes onto a shelf in a warehouse

Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, and backed by Public Health England, the Humankind STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service) was one of the first areas to deliver IPS (Individual Placement and Support) in community drug and alcohol treatment, from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021. Humankind has subsequently been awarded new contracts to deliver IPS in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria, while continuing our work in Staffordshire.

IPS is a ground-breaking employment programme which provides people with intensive support to find stable employment tailored to their individual needs.

STARS oversaw 87 enrolments into the IPS service during this time, with 55% of those subsequently finding suitable employment, despite the extra challenges faced by jobseekers throughout the pandemic.

While warehouse logistics and customer service/retail positions comprised the majority of those obtained by STARS’s IPS participants over the last financial year, job starts also spanned industries like health and social care, driving, administration/legal, production, trade, and cleaning.

The Staffordshire scheme even secured a stable self-employment route for a participant who needed to fit working hours around their family life after years of being paid in beer and food working in the “grey economy” with no permanent address.

It is hoped that the successful rollout of the IPS scheme within Humankind’s drug and alcohol services in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria will have a transformative impact on our ability to provide employment support to people who access them, while underlining the need for a multifaceted approach to treatment.

Humankind CEO, Paul Townsley, said:

“The success of STARS’s IPS work embodies Humankind’s mission to help people tackle their drug and alcohol use, not just through treatment, but also by paying attention to the social and economic factors which may hamper their road to recovery.”

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of PHE’s Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Inclusion Health Division, said:

“We’ve seen over the last few years the transformative effect of helping people into jobs that they want to do. This can include financial independence, improved health and wellbeing, and the chance to develop supportive social networks.

“The expansion of Individual Placement and Support will enable more people to access this intensive, skilled but, above all, client-led form of employment support.”

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, said:

“We know that drug and alcohol users in existing treatment, along with other disadvantaged groups, can face additional barriers when looking for work.

“The IPS scheme clearly shows people’s prospects of finding work can be improved, which in turn can lead to sustained recovery from drug use.

“We are delighted to be working with Humankind STARS to increase the availability of this highly personalised and intensive employment support in Staffordshire, and across the UK.”

IPS has eight key characteristics that distinguish it from most other forms of employment support:

  1. Paid employment secured in the competitive job market is the goal.
  2. It is open to all those who want to work.
  3. It aims to support people to find work that matches their preferences and interests.
  4. Job search and contact with employers are initiated quickly, within 4 weeks.
  5. IPS is embedded in and integrated with the treatment services.
  6. The IPS specialists engage directly with employers, building relationships to benefit their clients.
  7. It provides individualised unlimited support to the participant and their employer.
  8. Participants are given expert advice around welfare benefits to enable them to make informed decisions about work.

 

A worker lifts boxes onto a shelf in a warehouse
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