The Salvation Army’s Steps to Work programme at Strawberry Field has provided invaluable assistance to young people (18 to 25 years old) with learning difficulties, providing job training and helping them secure jobs. It’s been so successful that it’s extending the programmes to include Steps at Strawberry Field, Steps to Work lite and Steps to Volunteer. More people with learning difficulties and other obstacles standing in the way of employment will be able to access a wider range of training opportunities, as well as additional employment skills training and various work experience opportunities.
Steps to Work lite is the Steps to Work programme in condensed form. Steps to Volunteer is for those who want to upscale their volunteer work and turn it into a formal qualification. There is also Recycles, which is a hands-on, on-the-job training programme that teaches people how to repair and refurbish bicycles. Recycles is based at Bulky Bobs in the Liverpool City Centre.
Working through the pandemic
As The Salvation Army has proven with several of its other programmes, Steps to Work was adapted to continue regardless of lockdown restrictions. Called Steps from Home, training sessions and workshops moved online so that they are accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
It should come as no surprise that only between 6% and 7% of working-age people with learning disabilities are gainfully employed. Their skills and talents are easily overlooked but this is where Steps at Strawberry Field comes in with its holistic approach that enables all people to realise their potential.
Commenting on the extended range of training and greater accessibility, Steps at Strawberry Field Programme Manager, Alan Triggs said, “It is an exciting time for Strawberry Field as thanks to additional funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), we are able to introduce additional programmes and reach out to more people across the Liverpool City Region.”
Strawberry Field Mission Director, Major Kathy Versfeld also commented. “The expansion to the programme will, we hope, prove a godsend to the many individuals whose aspirations of gainful employment have been pushed even further out of reach by the pandemic. We want them to know we are pulling out all the stops to support them in realising their dreams and in harnessing their unique potential, so that together we can build better, more inclusive and diverse workplaces.”
What makes Strawberry Field so special?
John Lennon, obviously brought Strawberry Field to the world’s attention but it faded from public memory somewhat over the years until 2019, when it reopened with a visitor centre and training hub that includes an interactive exhibition, café, shops, and gardens. Profits are fed back to The Salvation Army’s programmes, which have been given an additional financial boost from funding from the ESF (European Social Fund).
For more information on Steps at Strawberry Field, the programmes available and how you can join, please visit the website here.