A therapeutic training centre is to be provided where people who are dealing with a severe and enduring mental health problem or some other condition can receive training in the decorative arts to refurbish second-hand furniture, make jewellery from recycled products and access employment related skills like CV building and interview practice. The centre will also be developed into a facility that produces a useful product and provides supported employment opportunities for the service users bringing dignity and independence to a group of people who have been formally trapped by the benefits system.
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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1048093)
Furniture Now! (FN!) currently provides a training facility targeted at mental health service users and the long term unemployed by providing two taught courses in the decorative arts. The first is an introductory course in Creative Crafts which is level 1 accredited by the National Council for Further Education (NCFE). This lasts 12 weeks and over 90% of students qualify. Trainees can then progress to the 40 week course in Decorative Paint Techniques which is accredited to level 2 by the Open College Network (Open College Network). The charity is OFSTED inspected and has received an ‚Äúexcellent‚Äù rating. External verifiers from OCN and NCFE have both submitted reports showing FN!‚Äôs teaching standards to be exemplary. FN! is a franchise partner of the local further education college, Sussex Downs. The charity also teaches a number of employment related skills and NVQs in business administration, customer services, retail and warehousing mainly conducted through its very successful furniture services. The employment skills courses are complementary qualifications to the NVQs and furniture refurbishment training and are currently being completely revamped into much more intensive and accessible one or two day sessions on CV building, interview practice and presentation coaching. The Training Centre has conducted a significant consultation with its service users and stakeholders (social services, MIND, voluntary sector support organisations etc.) and has been asked to provide further courses in the decorative arts geared towards therapeutic daytime activity to promote recovery from mental distress and the long-term unemployed. Additionally, computer skills and employment related coaching has been isolated as something that needs to be developed to reach this group of people. New courses are being developed in interior design and jewellery production (from high quality recycled materials) fitting with the charity‚Äôs ethos. This will broaden the appeal of the centre and give candidates a wider set of skills with which to progress and find work, access further education or voluntary posts as appropriate. FN! is also going to develop itself along the lines of a social business, producing items that are saleable and moving towards being able to employ people trapped in benefits dependency due to ill mental health. This all costs money. FN! has received a three year grant from the Henry Smith Charity of ¬£25,000 each year for three years and earns ¬£20,000 per annum from the Learning and Skills Council by providing these courses. A further ¬£25-30,000 is needed per annum and this is comes from individual donations and charitable trusts. Can you help? More information can be provided. We would like to speak to you!
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