An essential element to living independently is employment. For some of our customers, many of whom have never had steady employment, they need support to develop some of the key skills required in a working environment. At Foundation, our teams work hard to develop innovative opportunities for building these skills, whilst at the same time offering a chance for social inclusion and building aspirations. Our Leeds team work with ex-offenders, supporting them back into their community through sustainable housing and employment. In our annual report 2015/16 we found that on leaving our services only 16% of our customers re-offended within 6 months, a reduction from 42% who offended in the 6 months prior to Foundation support.

Debbie-Lea from our Leeds team tells of an employability skills training with a difference:

‘A group of seven young men attended Yeadon Tarn on every Tuesday for eight weeks in September and October. The course presented different challenges through physical, outdoor activities every week. One week it was rowing training. During the activity customers had to understand the equipment – the oars and how to safely attach these on to the boat, along with the buoyancy aids attached.


The customers worked in pairs, one inside the boat and the other on the side of the water guiding them with a rope when in difficulty. Trust was key for the customers – knowing their partner would help them when they needed it. Communication was also key in this activity as they were rowing backwards they needed their partner to look out for them.

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Every single member of the session had never rowed before – taking part built their confidence and they all enjoyed the sense of team work and belonging. This eight week course was created to improve employability amongst 16-24 year olds by developing transferable skills such as confidence, effective communication and organisation.’