People formerly homeless employed by NHS trust as part of programme to help them find a job

The programme aims to tackle systematic problems people face getting a job. Credit: PA

A local NHS Trust has employed people who were formerly homeless as part of a programme aiming to understand and tackle the systemic issues people face when getting a job.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) have hired two healthcare social workers.

Both recruits, who were previously homeless, will be working with a homelessness and community treatment team within the Trust.

In their roles they will try and help people to find solutions to their problems. This may include helping to protect vulnerable people from harm or abuse, or supporting people to live independently.

The Access to Employment scheme is open to people in stable positions who no longer have issues with accommodation.

Part of the programme includes employability training from homeless charity Groundswell.

Both social workers have now graduated from the programme.

Senior professional social worker Jan Rutherford said: “Many people felt having experience being homeless meant there were barriers to them getting a job.

"The training helped to encourage and empower attendees and make them feel like they were employable."

She continued: “The experience has brought me to tears. It’s all down to the successful individuals. They had the ability, they just hadn’t been given the opportunity and we’ve been able to provide that.

“They’re both really passionate and looking forward to forging their careers. To have healthcare support workers with lived experience and real empathy will bring such value to the teams.”

Anne-Marie Lamb is the senior nurse in international recruitment and relocation support. She said: “For CNTW to be the first Trust to get to this stage of the pilot is a massive achievement. The work has instilled hope and shows that everyone has an opportunity.

“It normalises people with lived experience and shows that just because you have been homeless doesn’t mean you can’t move forward.”