Connection at St Martin's in the Field

How the Peter Cruddas Foundation is helping the UK's busiest homeless centre to promote education, training and employability skills to young homeless people

The Connection is the largest and busiest day centre for homeless people in London, open every day and night, all year round.

5000 homeless people use its services each year. 30% of their clients are young people aged 16-30. The vast majority have come through the Care system.

Since the fall of Lehman Brothers, the number of people using the centre has increased by 20%.

As well as providing basic services including food, showers and shelter, the charity's aim is to get to the root cause of homeless people's problems and help them move into accommodation, training, employment and education.

Each year The Connection's Workspace service helps around 1000 people by developing bespoke Action Plans according to people's career aspirations, skill sets and experience. Clients can be referred onto college courses, further education or our fully accredited in-house training courses. They are also given job search support (CV-writing and interview workshops) and linked with training, work trial and employment opportunities.

Although the Connection's Workspace service has always been popular with the centre's older clients, in 2008 only 182 people under the age of 30 used the centre's Workspace service, which represents just 12% of service users under the age of 30.

The Connection turned to the Peter Cruddas Foundation to help them increase the number of young people using their education, training and employment service.

An awareness-raising campaign, aimed at young people in the centre, began in August. The results have been astonishing. As a direct result of one-to-one contact by Workspace staff members, in the last three months the number of young people using Workspace has more than doubled, from 15 to 31 people per month.

We will keep you posted on how many of these people go on to further education and training and achieve employment.

"I've been on the streets for about a month. Someone came up to me and told me about the Connection. They understand what you're going through and talk to you. They got me a place in a hostel - I don't want to be on the streets. I'm gonna keep on using the services here and I want to train to be a barber hopefully." Ryan, 20

Connection at St Martin's in the Field
Connection at St Martin's in the Field