Life can be flipping hard sometimes. Living in a city like Nottingham, we’re lucky to have a community that can get us back on our feet when things get tough. This place is home to a multitude of support groups and organisations whose sole purpose is to help people through hard times, no matter what they may be…
Recent statistics show that unemployment rates are slowly decreasing, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that in August 2019, the UK employment rate was estimated at 76.1%, the joint-highest percentage since records began in 1971. But there are still masses of people who need help in this area – statistics from March 2019 show there are over 15,000 people in Nottingham alone searching for employment, with a variety of causes at the root of the problem.
“One thing we’ve seen an increase in year on year is mental health issues, and the impacts they have on people’s lives,” says Ben, Team Manager for Adult Employment at the Notts-based not-for-profit organisation the Futures Group. “This is why we’ve created a partnership with Insight Healthcare – they can provide therapy through a counsellor and we can provide employment support. We’ve also seen quite a few older job seekers more recently; when they first started out in the job market, they might not have needed any formal qualifications. The process of getting a job is also very different now.”
Futures Group has two main divisions that work to provide support to Nottingham residents looking for employment. The first, Futures For You, supports adults from as young as nineteen with a wide range of programmes and delivers partnership work in job centres, colleges and larger organisations. The second, Futures for Business, runs adult education courses, and works with local employers, encouraging them to recruit Nottingham residents.
Through Futures Group, you can gain free access to a number of group sessions and one-to-one support on everything from your CV and job-hunting to training courses for business admin, hospitality or even just maths and English. “A lot of what we do, because it’s one-to-one, is confidence-building. So it’s not just sitting down with someone and doing their CV, it’s getting them to identify their transferable skills and, if they’ve been away from the market for a long time, looking at what skills they might have picked up. For example, if they’re a parent, how they can utilise that in the workplace,” says Ben.
Their services are here to help anyone who needs it – whether you’re fresh out of education, you’ve had an extended break from work or are just looking for a career change. And, if you’ve been going through a tough time in other areas of your life, Ben believes this model of embedded employment support is valuable. “We see the whole range of people – whether its ex-offenders, victims of domestic violence, single parents, people from ethnic minorities or people who are new to the UK,” he says.
“Quite often we find that people need support, but employment might not be the top item of their agenda. But we want to get it higher up the list to a point where they’re meeting a primary need.” Breaking down these small barriers towards employment can be life-changing for someone who needs a boost back into society, or a helping hand to get on the career ladder in the first place.
Nottinghamshire Women's Aid provides a safe environment for survivors and offer ongoing support, counselling and learning opportunities. They’re host to The Freedom Programme, which helps people make sense of their experiences, and Hands Are Not For Hurting, a twelve-week programme for women and children who’ve been subject to DSVA. They can also provide supported housing and refuge services for those in need.
Equation delivers education to the whole community, and support survivors of domestic abuse. Between 2017 and 2018, they educated 7,000 people on gender equality and promoting healthy relationships, and gave emotional support to 274 men who were the recipients of domestic abuse. They work together with Juno Women’s Aid, who run a local 24-hour helpline for those looking for help, advice or someone to talk to – 0808 800 0340.
Nottingham Recovery Network provide free support, advice and treatment for drugs and alcohol problems. They offer services over the phone, face to face, or via email, with their website’s live chat function launching soon. They also have great access to volunteering and educational opportunities.
Double Impact, the organisation behind Cafe Sobar on Friar Lane, provides educational groups, advice for family members and housing support, as well as the social enterprise cafe, which works to combat one of the biggest barriers for people recovering from addiction – social isolation. The venue is alcohol-free and hosts a number of events, with all money earned feeding back into the charity.
Notts-based organisation Relate is the UK’s largest provider of relationship support, offering counselling for breakups, arguments and affairs, as well as for those struggling with sex addiction, helping ease the dependency on sex to numb negative emotions and difficult experiences.
Through community hubs, events and workshops, ArtSpeak are working to combat social isolation by engaging older people in cultural and arts activities, like photography and creative writing. They’ll be piloting their Jazz Jamming sessions at The Embankment pub on Tuesday 24 September, where older musicians can make music with their peers. Then there’s Broadway Cinema, who run dementia-friendly screenings on a bi-monthly basis with a selection of classic movies and musicals.
But this isn’t a problem just relative to the older generation, with this digital age seeing a dramatic increase in younger people suffering with social isolation. The Wolfpack Project are based in Mapperley, and work to reduce loneliness in young people and adults aged sixteen to fifty through buddy schemes and social groups. They take referrals from a number of local charities, both the universities, and Nottingham College.
The Day Therapy Centre at Nottinghamshire Hospice offers one-to-one emotional support, spiritual support from the chaplaincy team, plus information and advice sessions. Cruse Bereavement Care also has four local branches – Lenton, Mansfield, West Bridgford and Newark – and gives free, strictly confidential care for anyone who needs it.
Let’s Talk About Loss runs peer-led meet-up groups in cities across the UK, for young people aged 18-35 who are experiencing loss. Not technically a support group or counselling session, the meet-ups simply encourage the group to talk openly and honestly about experiences, and may stray away from the sad stuff entirely.
If you’ve lost a loved one to cancer, Maggie’s can help to support you, they have a Nottingham centre and offer online support too. They offer a place to speak to others going through a similar experience and find advice, support and strategies for coping.
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