A part of my job I really look forward to is getting out into the community and meeting people who are involved in our community services initiatives. I recently took a tour with some Peabody board members of the Pembury Learning Centre on Pembury Estate in Hackney, and Bruce House Centre in Westminster.
These centres between them offer both Peabody residents and members of the public access to a range of courses and talks, as well as free support, training and advice to people looking for jobs in London.
Speaking to people from the community services team during the tour, it was moving to see first-hand the positive impact the services we offer are having on people. As you may know, Peabody isn’t just a social housing provider – we have a long history of fighting poverty and deprivation, encouraging Londoners to live in thriving communities. As we celebrate our 150th anniversary this year, we are looking to raise awareness of the positive and impactful work of our community services team of which I’m very proud.
Here is a taster of the valuable services that are offered.
Reconnect @ Bruce House
Peabody’s employment programme helps the long term jobless get into work and is unique because it supports the wider community as well as Peabody residents. Last year we helped over 300 people into jobs – many for the first time!
Since April the service has already supported 49 participants into work. And for those who don’t quite have the skills they need, the volunteering programme enables individuals to gain practical work skills.
The service is very much in line with Peabody’s mission to build thriving communities and it was very moving and inspirational to hear stories about people who have found gainful employment.
On Track @Bruce House
This Youth Engagement Programme engages young people by using music as a hook, with the aim of improving personal development through teambuilding, teaching how to use music software, and how to create music tracks. The Programme is designed to attract and retain young people who have not been able to progress in the ‘traditional’ educational system. There is a strong focus on mentoring and peer mentoring. I was impressed to hear that the programme has engaged 73 young people to date.
Arts Cellar – Engagement Programme, aimed at 16+,
This project engages vulnerable adults who may have been affected by homelessness, mental health, or worklessness, and involves those generally deemed socially excluded. The programme provides a sense of purpose, a routine and a vital social network, while nurturing and embracing individuals’ creativity and style.
The programme has attracted 200 people to date, all of whom have benefited from a range of arts-based workshops including; Photography, Digital imaging, Creative Writing, Painting & Drawing and Drama. The programme hopes to sustain itself through a social enterprise model: it plans to impose art work and images created by participants onto merchandise.
These innovative classes help parents improve their confidence and develop a sense of self belief, and this has positive knock-on effects such as the development of stable happy families. The parents said how their newfound confidence has helped them to play more active roles in their children’s schooling, and it’s even encouraged them to participate more in community life on their estates.