Following the publication of the Portman Group Supporting Communities report, they continue to engage with industry groups and organisations who play important roles in advancing the alcohol and hospitality sectors. Using the report as a springboard, they are continuing to shine a light on the valuable work of these groups.
One such organisation is Only a Pavement Away (OAPA), a charity which works to support homeless people by getting them into employment in the hospitality sector.
OAPA was founded by married couple Greg and Gill Mangham who were shocked and saddened by both the sheer number of homeless people living in the UK, as well as the way the homeless community are treated.
Greg and Gill refused to accept that homelessness is the direct result of a person’s actions and point to an inherently flawed system. They also spotted that the hospitality industry was growing quickly and needed an increased workforce to meet demand. Greg had spent 40 years working in the industry and saw an opportunity to connect homeless looking for jobs with companies needing staff. He used his extensive contacts and knowledge to build the charity.
OAPA acts as the bridge between charities working to get people who are ex-offenders or homeless into employment, and those businesses who need to recruit new employees and are keen to support people to have a second chance. As a not-for-profit recruiter they created a programme to match candidates with employers. With candidates undergoing initial assessments, support to prepare for interviews and relevant training courses employers can be confident in them. The process is open and transparent which removes any caution from the employer or the need for the prospective employee to explain the details of their circumstances.
Launched in 2018, by 2020, it had already placed 77 people into employment. With every homeless or former prisoner costing £20,000 to the economy they have helped to add £2.5 million worth of value to the UK economy. Additionally, they keep close to those on the streets and support rough sleepers by donating flasks, warm clothes, blankets, and food and drink.
The charity is partnered with major players in the hospitality sector including pubcos who stepped up to support the COVID-19 relief effort, covered in the Supporting Communities report. These include Youngs & Co Brewery, Gaucho, Greene King, Malmaison, Pub Love, Yummy, Qoot, The Ivy Collection and many more.
OAPA provides a gateway to employment and vital associated services such as support and training. Beyond this, OAPA is committed to providing additional assistance to the most vulnerable in the programme. This includes providing housing, travel, uniform, and groceries. A donation to OAPA covers these essentials.
If you would like to learn more about Only a Pavement Away, contact email@example.com.
If you’re part of business that would like to become a partner and help those facing homelessness, get into employment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Portman Group