John Lewis to fund local hostel residents’ skills training

One YMCA have won a £25,600 grant from The John Lewis Partnership Community Investment Fund so hostel residents can complete skills training.

Dominating Watford town centre skyline is Charter House, home to One YMCA, the local branch of YMCA which delivers crucial community services across Herts, Beds and Bucks. As well as being One YMCA’s headquarters, Charter House is a hostel and provides safe and supportive accommodation for up to 180 people across the year, who would otherwise be homeless.

Sadly, Watford town centre has been affected by the economic effects of Covid-19, and the high street has seen many closures throughout 2020, including the closing of Watford’s John Lewis Store.

In response to the closure, John Lewis Partnership set up the John Lewis Community Investment Fund, for projects that support the local community.

The housing team at One YMCA’s Watford Hostel, saw the investment fund as a great opportunity to applying for funding to help their residents. As well as accommodation and catering, One YMCA offers tailored support services to residents, to help them get back on their feet and develop their potential. Support includes one-to-one mentoring, therapeutic group activities, support for addiction and help finding employment.

One YMCA are delighted to have won a £25,600 grant from the John Lewis Partnership to cover an employability skills training programme. The housing team hope to enrol up to 180 residents throughout the year and they have the option of studying essential employability skills, undertaking the Essential Employability in Care certificate or the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.

Ivadeen Charles, Supported Housing Manager for Charter House said:

“We are really grateful to the John Lewis Community Investment Fund who have granted us this funding for employability training. We have enough funding now to cover at least one skills training course for each of our residents here in Watford. Equipped with the skills and qualifications acquired on the training programme, our current residents can go forward to apply for, and hopefully gain employment. Our vision at One YMCA is for our residents to belong, contribute and thrive in the local community.”

In addition to undertaking the training, beneficiaries will be supported by their key worker to prepare for and source suitable employment through the development of CV writing and preparation for interview.