Roots to Work is Trust Links’ ongoing employment support programme, funded by the European Union Social Fund. Roots to Work is a place for local people to learn new skills, boost their confidence and gain interview and CV-writing experience. We meet twice a week at Growing Together Westcliff on Mondays and Thursdays, and Roots to Work empowers people with hands-on-experience to get into good work.
Many Roots to Work participants have faced long-term unemployment. "I’ve tried lots of jobs but nothing’s ever worked out,” said one participant, John. "I was bewildered about work,” John said, before coming to Roots to Work. Through the support at Trust Links and the employability training he receives at Roots to Work he is hoping to find a permanent job.
Because Trust Links is a mental health and wellbeing charity we are well equipped to help people manage illness, one of the biggest barriers to employment. Dealing with common problems like anxiety or a lack of confidence in interview situations is key to wellness at work, and Roots to Work participants benefit from the peer support network at the heart of Trust Links.
"Trust Links has encouraged me. They’ve been understanding and taken it slow, and we’ve gone at my own pace.”
"The most important thing for my mental health has been the peer support network. I feel more confident; I’ve come out of my shell.”
"We have done sessions on managing stress, writing CVs and how to prepare for job interviews. I’m still trying to put everything into practice, but [Roots to Work] has helped me with my mental health.”
"Everyone’s willing to help at Trust Links,” said Fran, another Roots to Work participant. "I’ve been coming to the gardens since 2013 and I know everyone here, they’re all lovely people like one big happy family.”
Long-term disability has kept Fran from regular work. Through the inclusive community and professional support at Trust Links, Fran feels far more confident about travelling to interviews and using computers.
"At one time I couldn’t job search online – I was really frightened of it. Now I’m much more confident using the computer. I have a digital CV and I can send it off to more jobs.”
John agrees that the IT training he has received at Roots to Work has been a massive help in the hunt for jobs. "When I first started I couldn’t even get around a computer. I get frustrated with it, and if I didn’t have people around me who could help I’d just walk away.”
"It’s so frustrating when you can’t do something and, instead of helping, people just take over without showing you what to do. That doesn’t happen at Trust Links – they’re so supportive.”
"Roots to Work has really helped my confidence”, Fran says. "I love it here.”
Being able to make friends with people who understand and know what you’re going through is key to how Roots to Work helps people find work. "We’re never told what to do and we’re never patronised”, says David, another participant. "The environment at Trust Links really helps – if you feel overwhelmed, you can step out into the garden and get some fresh air. Roots to Work is far more relaxed than other employability schemes.”
Whether you are looking for a fresh start in work or you need training to overcome illness or anxiety, Roots to Work caters for everyone. Steve, who finished University four years ago and who lives with Asperger’s and Dyspraxia, has benefited from our CV-writing workshops.
"I came originally to get a better, neater CV, and I’ve found the interview training to be really useful, as for me job interviews are a very hard and anxious situation. Being able to work as a team is the most valuable thing.”
Steve is looking to work in football coaching, and through Roots to Work he is now volunteering as a young persons’ coach at Southend United.
"Between coming to Trust Links and football coaching, I have a busy week now!”
Roots to Work aims to be a more inclusive, more supportive way for people to find work and gain confidence. You can learn about different kinds of work and careers, to find the right job for you and something that your barriers won’t hold you back to do. From CV building to interview training, from working in the garden to going on practical work experience days at local businesses, Roots to Work is a brilliant place to pick up new skills and develop your employability confidence.
If you’d like to learn more about Roots to Work or apply to become a participant, contact Trust Links on 01702 213 134, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Westcliff site on the corner of Fairfax Drive and Prittlewell Chase.