The project is up for two awards in the ‘Woman of the Year: Homelessness/Care and support’ and ‘Improving the Lives of Women or Communities Award (large)’ categories, beating off competition from throughout the UK.
Chorus Homes Ferry Project, which is part of Places for People, is an award-winning social enterprise and registered charity that helps homeless people in Fenland. The aim of the Ferry Project is to provide accommodation and give people the skills they need to enable independence. These include life skills such as cooking and cleaning, education courses and vocational training to volunteering and employment opportunities.
Emma Webb, Support Team Leader at the Ferry Project has been shortlisted for the ‘Woman of the Year, Homelessness/Care and support’ award for her inspiring work with others, despite facing many personal challenges.
Emma’s team supports over 1,000 people a year who are either homeless or unemployed. To meet the needs of her role she has proactively developed her own skillset, including Mental Health First Aider training, drug and alcohol training as well as obtaining a PTLLS qualification so that she could train clients in work related skills and learning management skills.
In addition to this, she was key in the development of a Job Café for the people of Wisbech which, over a two year period, supported over 2,000 people. She has initiated and managed a successful work experience programme which has been attended by hundreds of people, many suffering from mental health problems. As a result of her work Ferry Project has secured three contracts running for the past two years delivering support to unemployed people in Fenland.
The second award recognises the outstanding work that the women at the Queen Mary Centre (QMC) are undertaking to help local groups. As a finalist in the ‘Improving the Lives of Women or Communities Award (large)’, activities at the Centre include the Rima’s Ladies group, All Sorts Together and TOAST which all demonstrate Ferry Project’s role in creating a welcoming space for the culturally diverse community.
Group founder, Rima Simkute said: “I felt very alone and isolated when I arrived in the UK and I knew that there must be something positive I could do to help other migrant women to make new friends. So I started a club at the QMC – and from a small group of mostly mums and kids sharing cake and having a chat, it has now grown to four different groups incorporating music, singing, craft and drama.”
Other successful groups include All Sorts Together which brings many different people together to enjoy a social gathering with some crafts, tea, cake and a chat, whilst TOAST provides a weekly Friday afternoon drop in where around 30 people meet up for free tea and toast, with bread donated from the local Greggs the Bakers. Providing a place where everyone feels welcome, visitors include women with disabilities, women who home school their children, individuals affected by loneliness, depression, grief and lack of confidence.
Keith Smith, Ferry Project Director, said: “We are delighted that the amazing work which is being undertaken by individuals here at Ferry Project has been recognised by The Women in Housing Awards. Emma, Rima and many others have gone above and beyond to make a real difference and the awards are a great celebration of the fantastic work which women are doing across the housing sector.”
Please visit www.womeninhousingawards.co.uk for a full list of finalists and winners.