On Tuesday 11th October, CXK hosted a Bridge the Gap Celebration Event at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Attended by more than 100 Bridge the Gap beneficiaries, as well as project partners and staff, the event was a platform to celebrate the positive impact of the project on vulnerable and unemployed individuals living in Thanet, Canterbury and Swale.
CXK’s Bridge the Gap is a free, professional mentoring project designed to support and empower the vulnerable unemployed, economically inactive, and in particular those designated unable or unwilling to take advantage of any current employability or learning provision available. Through personalised, long-term, 1:1 mentoring, every individual is supported through the project to build the skills and confidence they need to move forward in their personal development and towards the world of work.
Delivered in Canterbury, Swale and Thanet from December 2021 to October 2022, the 11-month project has supported more than 300 individuals.
Guests at the event had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers, to learn about and celebrate the successes of Bridge the Gap, and to visit different stalls of organisations that can support them in their learning and career journeys. Attendees also had the opportunity to take part in interactive sessions including cookie making, art therapy, floristry, and hand massages.
Of the 300+ individuals that benefitted from the project, 83%* completed accredited learning, 97% progressed into further education or training, 92%* engaged in life skills, and 41% access bursary support.
Debbie Lloyd, Assistant Director for CXK’s Bridge the Gap, said “The project has focused on providing a fresh, person-centred approach aimed at removing barriers, building confidence, and helping individuals to re-integrate into employment and the community. The project has simply been life changing for so many people.”
Bridge the Gap beneficiary, Stephen, said: “I have a range of disabilities including Autism, Aspergers, Anxiety, Depression, CPC, severe back pains, arthritis and a heart condition. All of that means I can no longer do most kinds of manual work and I ended up homeless.
“I was referred to CXK’s Bridge the Gap and my mentor gave me so much support. He arranged counselling sessions and helped me work out a way forward… I did a Locksmith course, everything funded, and it’s just life changing. The next step is to start my own business and Bridge the Gap has even helped me with that, providing information on how to start a business and funding the tools I need to get going. It has completely transformed my life and given me a future.”
Bridge the Gap is a project commissioned under the UK Community Renewal Fund – supporting communities to pilot programmes and new approaches ahead of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
*Of the target cohort