Lily's serves an incredibly important role in someone's employment journey. Imagine being out of the workplace for an extended period of time due to a disability, mental health issue, having spent some time homeless or due to serving a sentence in prison. The thought of full time paid work may feel daunting and scary especially if your self-esteem is low.
Lily's offers a halfway point in this employment journey in which many of our trainees volunteer, with hours they are comfortable with, in a friendly and nurturing environment. They can slowly build their skills and confidence but most of all they get to make friends and be part of the Lily's community.
To support our project we have been awarded £9,000 from Kent Community Foundation with a match fund criteria. This means we need to match this money for it to be released. We were awarded £4,500 from another funder towards this total and we have raised some funds ourselves. However we need one final push to be able to release all the funds we have been awarded within the deadline that has been set and reach as many people as we can.
Although we have the commercial arms to the business, our ambitions are more than the income this generates. We wish to employ some of our beneficiaries ourselves, we wish to purchase equipment such as a better oven so that our beneficiaries can be as independent as possible, we are expanding the cooking areas in the basement to create a quieter place for our trainees to work and concentrate. This area will also create more opportunities for catering and wholesale business development - after all we do believe in #jobsnotcharity.
We are also developing relationships with other businesses who will offer paid roles for trainees who have gone through our process and achieve a Lily's guarantee. We are providing training for work coaches as well as our trainees so that people are well supported during their journey with us and into paid work with one of our partners, learning skills and qualifications along the way. Sometimes we even pay the initial salary when trainees are placed while they are learning the job to break down as many barriers as we can.
So we are launching our crowdfund to raise as mcuh of these funds as we can to really move our project forward and offer more people a sense of purpose and achievement which will aid them into paid employment.
Beneficiaries who have already been through our project have talked about the benefits they have experienced including 'increase in confidence' 'providing work as well as friends' ' being treated like a human again' are just a few examples.
We are a unique project as we offer support to a wide range of beneficiaries from people with learning disabilities, serving offenders, people with autism, those that have experienced homelessness and mental health issues or people who have been out of work for a long time. We believe that everyone who needs that 'step up' can access our project and get back into work.