The Octopus Foundation
The Let's Get Working Octopus Shed
Training in employability and wood crafting as a way of engaging NEET men in the area
About The Octopus Foundation
Founded in 2017, The Octopus Foundation is a charitable organisation based in Medway. They work with vulnerable, marginalised people from areas of multiple deprivation in Kent and Medway.
The funded project and its benefits
This funding enabled The Octopus Foundation to run an Employability Programme, in partnership with RBLI, using the draw of carpentry as a way of engaging NEET men in the area.
Over the funded period 32 men took part in the weekly sessions, spending time in their well-equipped carpentry workshop and learning a range wood based skills. In addition to this hands-on activity, the beneficiaries also spent time learning more ‘formal’ skills, such as CV writing, interview techniques, and job searching. All of the beneficiaries were all adults who had been out of work for a number of years due to physical or mental health problems and so, in addition to this practical support, the SHED activities also provided an opportunity for men to come together and socialise, leading to better mental health and combatting social isolation, depression, loneliness and feelings of worthlessness. After the programme they moved into further engagement in either training or voluntary work as the next step towards paid employment.
Steve had been out of work for a number of years due to mental health problems. He was told he was unfit for work but after starting a family, felt frustrated and inadequate not providing for his family. Steve had quite extreme anxiety even leaving the house and no confidence in meeting new people. This was of course a huge barrier to employment. We recommended to Steve that he consider participating in the Employability Programme. We felt this would help him to overcome some of his anxieties and start to build his confidence and skills as a first step towards employment. Steve was very anxious but attended the first session of the programme. Staff supported him in feeling comfortable within the setting and the group. Steve was surprised at how well he fitted in and how much he enjoyed it. He was surprised to hear stories of others in the group which made him feel less alone or ‘odd’. Steve continued to attend the programme, gaining confidence alongside new skills as each week progressed. At the end of the project Steve decided he would like to attend a further project with The Octopus Foundation and now attends our Cre8 Project on a weekly basis [and has] registered with the RBLI Let’s Get Working Programme. This provides him with a key worker who can support him in job searches and applications as well as providing training and employment opportunities. Steve has come along way in a short time and is keen to engage with any support services and opportunities available to him in order to achieve his long term goal of providing for his family.