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2017 Mowlem Award winners case study

St-Eds

St-Eds’ Chief Executive Lorraine Bliss talks to us about her organisation and winning the 2017 Mowlem Award.

Please tell us a little about St-Eds and what you do.

St-Eds registered as a charity in 1965, initially as an accommodation project. In 2012, the charity changed direction – focusing on prevention and opening a centre offering accredited vocational training, predominately in construction. St-Eds now offers motor trade maintenance, catering, hair and beauty and therapeutic art, along with functional skills maths and English. We are recognised for our ability to reach out to young people, who often come from disadvantaged or dysfunctional backgrounds, and who struggle in mainstream education. With a welfare team on site headed up by a qualified social worker, we are also able to assist with emotional and social well-being issues.

St-Eds is matrix accredited (a quality standard for support services) and offers career information and guidance to all students. We also offer employability days – hosted by corporate companies who support us with technical advice, materials and most importantly, work experience opportunities for our young people.

Can you give an example of someone your organisation has helped?

14-year-old Harry had been out of mainstream education for almost 18 months. He was very withdrawn when he arrived at the St-Eds centre, refusing to engage in any training at all.

Every day he arrived by taxi and sat in reception for six and a half hours, not speaking or interacting with anyone. He was terrified – terrified of the new environment, the number of students and the whole new experience. He had never been out of his town, let alone to a big city like Norwich, or travelling 34 miles a day for education.

The St-Eds welfare team encouraged him to take part in therapeutic art, and he gradually moved from reception into a classroom with other students, and eventually into the workshop. Four months later and he was fully integrated, focusing on his construction training and beginning to achieve qualifications. Harry has grown in self-esteem and confidence, and now has aspirations.

What does winning the Mowlem Award and the grant mean to you and your organisation?

St-Eds is honoured to have won the Mowlem Award and to be associated with the B&CE Charitable Trust.  This has been a tremendous boost for our organisation. Giving us the confidence and encouragement to realise that even when the going gets tough, the work that we do inspires and changes so many young people’s lives.

How will the funding help you and/or your organisation? What will it allow you to achieve?

The funding will allow us to develop our centre further – by creating two more classrooms, installing more computers, and buying software, iPads and other resources for our students.

It will also ensure that we can offer better facilities, opportunities and access to meaningful accredited trade-related courses to more young people, as well as work experience, apprenticeships and employment.  The funding will also enable students to obtain their CSCS Health and Safety cards – giving them access to an industry that is desperately short of up and coming skilled craftsmen and young people.

Anything you’d like to say about the service and support you’ve received from us?

It’s so refreshing not to face red tape and bureaucracy when applying for a grant!  The Mowlem Award application process was very clear and straightforward. Nicola and her team at the Charitable Trust have been amazing, and we can’t thank them enough.