Since 2016, the European Social Fund and Big Lottery-funded Aspire programme, Building Better Opportunities (BBO), has worked in the Gatwick Diamond area to tackle the root causes of poverty, promote social inclusion, and drive local jobs and growth. Our trained volunteer mentors work with some of the most disadvantaged adults (single adults and those with at least one dependent child) living with multiple and complex needs, providing long-term training and support to help them re-engage with employment, education, and volunteering.
As part of this programme, we established the Gateway Community Allotment in 2018. The allotment and committed team of staff and volunteers, provide unique skills training and outdoor opportunities for both individuals and families, improving the lives of people affected by social isolation, long term unemployment, conflict within the family, mental ill health, and/or physical health issues. The Allotment provides a ‘safe space’ for people to talk and interact and a central place to deliver our local mentoring support.
“The Gateway is my safe place where I can be myself. I never feel judged by anyone and I have made positive friendships. It has changed my relationship with my family for the better”
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant changes to the way the service was delivered. Support was adapted to telephone or virtual delivery and played an essential role in supporting vulnerable people during these challenging times; ensuring that people are safe and well and are accessing appropriate support as required. BBO also provides more than just crisis management and survival support. It is also helping people to think about a future post lockdown by providing participants with structure, support with setting goals, and a focus on celebrating achievements and moving forwards with their lives.
We are currently helping 71 parents of whom, 11 have found jobs while three are actively searching and four have returned to education. We are also working with 50 single adults, nine of whom have found jobs while three are actively job seeking and three have returned to education.