Leap into Action: Wolverhampton’s Beacon of Hope

As it was leap day yesterday, we thought we would take a closer look at this peer to peer project at Good Shepherd Wolverhampton seeking to support people with a lived experience of homelessness.

Wolverhampton, a city known for its resilience and community spirit, has witnessed the rise of an extraordinary initiative that’s transforming lives and instilling hope. LEAP (Lived Experience into Action Project), launched in April 2022, is a beacon of hope for the most vulnerable members of the community, providing swift interventions to prevent homelessness and support those in need.

Empowering Lives Through Lived Experience

LEAP is not just a project; it’s a movement. It harnesses the power of lived experience, turning personal struggles into strengths that uplift others. The project recruits individuals who have faced homelessness, mental health issues, addiction, or other related traumas, and trains them to become peer navigators. These volunteers are the heart of LEAP, reaching out to rough sleepers and guiding them towards a brighter future.

Success Stories That Inspire

The impact of LEAP is evident in the stories of its volunteers. Take Claire Johnson, for example, whose journey with LEAP led her to secure employment with the NHS. She now works as a Peer Support Worker, helping patients navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and make positive changes in their lives. This is just one of the many success stories that LEAP has fostered, proving that with the right support, anyone can turn their life around.

A Collaborative Effort for a Better Tomorrow

LEAP’s success is also a testament to the power of collaboration. The project has been proactive in engaging partners and key stakeholders, creating a network of support that extends across Wolverhampton. From outreach events to training programs, LEAP is at the forefront of community engagement, working tirelessly to develop opportunities for its volunteers and service users alike.

Looking Ahead with Ambition

With the support of partners in Wolverhampton, LEAP is poised to unveil even more ambitious plans to meet the needs of the community. The project’s ongoing development promises to create more opportunities and provide even more comprehensive support for those in need.

LEAP Wolverhampton is more than just a project; it’s a testament to the indomitable human spirit. It’s a story of transformation, empowerment, and hope. As LEAP continues to grow and evolve, it stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when a community comes together to support its most vulnerable members. Wolverhampton, take a bow – your leap of faith is changing lives for the better.

A chance to LEAP into a fresh start

The Good Shepherd is once again seeking candidates for their LEAP project, providing individuals with firsthand experience of homelessness and other challenges the opportunity to engage in a personalised training and support program.

LEAP offers training and volunteer positions for individuals to become ‘peer navigators,’ offering assistance to those utilising services at the Good Shepherd who have faced similar situations.

This project not only involves LEAP volunteers supporting service users at the Good Shepherd but also includes training opportunities for volunteers to enhance their skills while pursuing a Level 3 diploma in adult health and social care.

Upon completion of the training, the goal is to transition to full-time employment, a milestone already achieved by several participants in the LEAP program, securing positions with organisations like the NHS.

“It is nearly two years now since we first launched LEAP, and we have seen many different cohorts come through the project,” says Good Shepherd Service Manager Chris Cole.

“There have been some really positive successes among the volunteers following the programme, including some going on to land full-time employment.

“But on top of that, it has been really satisfying to see how much LEAP has become embedded within the Good Shepherd itself, with volunteers viewed as part of the overall team.

“Whilst training and studying for a qualification, participants have become heavily involved in the day-to-day work of the Good Shepherd from welcoming people at the door or registering new clients, to being part of interview panels contributing their own views and opinions.

“They have also been interviewed by the local media, or spoken at events such as conferences and the Molineux Sleepout, all really worthwhile experiences which help them along their journey.

“We are now recruiting for the next cohort for the LEAP programme, and would love to hear from anyone interested who is ready to consider what could be a really positive step in the right direction.”

Anyone interested in joining or wishing to find out more about the LEAP programme, funded by Oak Foundation, can email Chris.Cole@gsmwolverhampton.org.uk