Why Outdoors for Projects to help Homeless?
It makes good sense to us to give a hand-up our “students” into the outdoors sector for many reasons.
First and foremost we love friends and we love the “great outdoors” so that is our niche. And we believe that the outdoors is a niche well worth tapping into.
“Outdoors” activities and pursuits is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK with more and more people wanting to get outdoors for their overall wellbeing.
Physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Exercising in nature has proven health benefits and is now being recommended to be prescribed by GP’s as an alternative to drugs, for almost every ailment, saving billions for the NHS.
It is also a growing tourism sector demand with thousands wanting to experience the beautiful landscapes and terrains that the UK has to offer.
With growing awareness about environmental issues, careers in sustainability, energy, farming and construction etc are fast on the rise too.
How will you find the right homeless candidates?
We have many connections in the homeless sectors across the UK and we will be adding to these all the time. When funding is in place for each individual project we will contact our connections for referrals in the first instance. Even the “hidden homeless” have usually made some point of contact for help from organizations.
Finding the right candidate is very important and having a real interest in outdoors, for health & wellness combined with a great career will be very important.
In addition we can only help people that want to help themselves out of poverty & homelessness and each of our projects progress and success will rely heavily on them becoming more responsible and taking back control of their own lives. This will include lots of dedication to training and lots of research for learning and understanding more about the benefits of outdoors for mental physical and spiritual health too.
Can any homeless person be helped with a project?
We do not discriminate in any way when it comes to giving a hand-up to a homeless person in the UK with our outdoors careers projects.
But we can only help single homeless persons as currently we do not have the capacity to provide the required temporary accommodation and to have responsibilities that may be associated with a family’s full needs.
In addition, we always take into consideration a person’s health issues and capabilities. We therefore always require a GP certificate that says a person is able to undertake any training, which may in most instances be demanding and require a person to be able to fully concentrate and be aware of risks and dangers. For example, it would never be acceptable that any person under the influence of drugs or alcohol or other substances attends a training session or attempts to walk out in potentially dangerous wild areas.
We always carry out complete risk assessments before any student commences any projects with us. Not only is this good practice but a requirement of our insurance policies too.
What if a homeless person is disabled and wants to join a project?
We do not discriminate against persons with disabilities.
Obviously we have to take into consideration the welfare and safety aspects, ie the suitability of the project in respects of the disability. With hundreds of outdoors careers to choose from the prospect of an outdoors career for disabled persons is certainly a realistic one. As previously mentioned however, we always carry out risk assessments and require GP certificate of ability to undertake any training.
As an example, if you think about our projects like “Hills and Moorland Leader” which requires hours of walking many miles over different terrains, there is no reason at all why a person who has artificial limbs cannot enjoy this career. Ever watched the paralyimpics? However being in a wheelchair will for obvious reasons be very restrictive. Yet considering the latter, being wheelchair bound, there are many new developments in all terrain wheelchairs and low level walking leader would certainly not be out of the question.
As with any physical disability there is always ways to overcome and adapt. Everything has great possibilities.
And as with any mental disability, once again the level of training for a new career in the outdoors has to match a person’s capabilities.
At the end of the day the end consumer ( thier clients/customers) once qualified have to be taken into account also. There is much to consider and much scope for adaptation and creativity as a solution to various physical and mental challenges
Is an outdoors project a paid job?
No it is not a paid job. it is training and education towards a paid job or self-employment. However in many cases we will employ the services of our newly qualified persons to help more of our students on an ongoing basis.
Our projects are a hand-up in the form of bursaries, towards training in an outdoors career which will lead to qualifications enabling a person to either be self-employed or employed in same sector as they choose. The bursaries that we will provide for each project also cover all associated costs like temporary accommodation, clothing and equipment, transport, phone and laptop, food, insurances and some nominal personal spends.
We support each student with preparing for self employment or jobs by incorporating CV development, business skills and self employment law, marketing etc, ALL included into the project package.
How is a bursary paid?
Bursaries are in the main given indirectly as we pay course and accommodation providers as we go along and as and when required. This includes purchasing of clothing and equipment, transport etc too.
Only the nominal personal spends will be given directly and these will be usually be added into a credit building bank account on a weekly basis for purchasing or withdrawals by card.
Intially food is paid for and delivered to the accommodation as we work on the principle that only the best healthy food will do and purchase from local suppliers who are trusted and of high quality.
What support is given for Student of Life?
Support is variable and totally dependant on the unique needs of every individual.
It is the encouragment and support of great friends and professionals, that value friendship and the great outdoors that will ensure a students feels valued and motivated every day.
All of this genuinely amazing support will be constantly accessible in our online community, or via mobile phone and some skype with ourselves or the mentors and coaches attached to each project and most importantly with the offline meetups with friends and professionals as a natural course in any project. If additional support is required it can be sorted straight away.
Al training courses and assessments will be from high quality providers who are able to recognize the need for any additional support which we arrange as required.
Will a person need to move far from their hometown?
We will always endeavour to offer projects that are as close to a person’s hometown wherever possible. We totally understand the needs of a person to be close to family and friends.
However temporary accomodation will need to be close to where the actual training exercises are carried out. Yachting schools are only in particular areas of the UK for example. On the other hand Hills and Moorland are quite often accessible and within an hour or so drive from any particular town.
Everything is all dependant on the outdoors course and it’s availability in any particular area.
Please note: Even though a person may be further away from hometown than they might have liked, they have plenty opportunity to go back to their hometown on “days off” which can be planned into their itinerary of training. All transport will be provided.
What is temporary accommodation provision?
There will be different types of accommodation to suit any projects and the provision of such accommodation is always tied into the contract for the project and remains only available as long as a person is still actively pursuing and participating the end goals of the project.
Many training schools like Yatching Schools for example provide the accommodation and food as part of a training package.
In some cases it might be more appropriate that a room is rented in a shared house for professionals only.
In most cases projects will require that a person experiences many different terrains in different locations in which case accommodation will be in high quality touring caravan, fully equipped and on certified sites.
It is highly likely that a caravan is our preferred form of accommodation for any student as this protects us from being attached to any leases that landlords may require. A caravan offers lots more flexibility and is also great for a student to have a friend stay over now and then too. If a student has a dog a caravan is perfect as most rented rooms won’t allow pets either.
What happens if a students quits?
We do everything in our power to make sure that our “students” are the right candidates and that they really do want to put in the time and effort to improve thier lives. This means also making sure that any course is the right one for them too!
Before any student commences on our projects they are invited to meet one or more of our coaches with either one or two days outdoors experience and personal finding and understanding of purpose. Our coaches (connections) are of the highest quality in business and personal development fields so it is highly likely that suitability for any project is determined at this point in time.
Individual needs are most important and we acknowledge that in some cases extra coaching throughout may be required. This might be particular for persons trying to overcome depressions and anxieties for example.
Throughout every course there will be lots of encouragment and support at all times.
If a student still decides to quit despite everyone’s good efforts then of course we will have no option to respect his/her wishes to do so and our contrat of support will end accordingly.
What happens if a student gets sick?
We seek positive outcome to any challenging situation that affects a person life.
Before any student commences in one of our outdoors projects we require a GP certificate to state that he/she is fit enough.
Anyone can get sick at any time and short term sickness like a few days of flu for example are not a major concern with respects to the project, as training courses can be rescheduled usually with minumum loss of money, if any at all. If somone breaks an ankle which might take 6 weeks to mend then this also can be overcome as there is still lots of other things a student can be learning during recovery which doesn’t require physical activity outdoors as such.
However if a student became unexpectedly long term sick and unable to complete our projects training then we look for the most positive outcome as we would need to terminate the contract and end the provision of temporary accommodation too. If the councils cannot help with a decent home ( highly likely they won’t) then we will support a person to find a small flat, pay deposits if needed and furnish it with donations from our community as required. From thereon the person will be able to claim any sickness or incapacity benefits and rent support independantly.
People matter very much to us. Positive outcomes sought always.
What happens if a homeless applicant has no address or bank account?
We provide a private address if required and a bank account can be opened with the address we provide. There are bank accounts now that do not require credit searches so these are perfect for one’s needs.
However ID and some form of documentation will be required as an assurity that a person is legally permitted to work in the UK.
What if a person cannot drive a car? Can they still apply for a project?
Every course has different requirements as we have always mentioned. But in general many of these outdoors courses require some form of transport to get to and from place of course or experience days.
We have to take into consideration that even if we “fund” transport in the form of taxis, or have volunteers willing to drive people around then ultimately once qualified a person would still need to provide their own transport which might be a major hurdle especially if self employed.
From our perspective it might be more cost effective to lend a scooter OR to fund a person to take a crash course in driving and then to purchase a decent small car to loan out. Car hire companies don’t usually rent cars until a person has had a minimum of a year or two driving experience. With respects, insurances will be very high for newly qualified drivers. Everythings needs to be taken into consideration and done in the most cost effective ways so a scooter may the most perfect and cost effective solution all round.
Accountability and cost effectiveness. One way or another transport will be an important factor to consider in the provision of our bursaries.
What kind of person is an ideal candidate for an outdoors project?
Ideally a person will have some form of previous experience or interest in the Great Outdoors. This might be work experience or simply for pleasure.
As Outdoors Careers are so variable from gentler pursuits and interests, right through to extreme challenge, there will be different appeal for individuals at almost every level.
Most courses however will require completion of study and hands on experience modules so any applicant will need to have a basic ability to read write and communicate, and an ability to physically participate in required activity.
Is there extra support available for persons if they need it?
Yes absolutely. Our projects are person centered and tailored around a students needs.
Every student is a unique individual with varying needs and we are well aware that some might require extra counselling and support, especially if for example they are suffering with severe depression or PTSD.
We have in our connections, the highest quality professional therapists and coaches who are experienced in supporting persons with mental health. Throughout a students outdoors training we will always make sure that they have complete access to mental health support as often as required which will be fully funded as part of our bursary.
There are lots of studies that provide evidence that eco therapy, adventure therapy, and nature therapy are viable therapies for depression and PTSD. That’s why we are very proud to be supporting people with outdoors projects for a very viable future career