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Where are the Men Update: I Remember...

A DfE Community Learning | Mental Health Research site 

In one of my previous blogs I wrote about some outreach work I did with a group of men who had been homeless.  Our statistics show that the majority of the people we work with who have been homeless are men.  However, I know from 10 years of community outreach work, that getting homeless men into learning is a challenge. 

That's not a judgement about anyone, not the potential learners nor the outreach provision -  it's simply an observation.  When lives are chaotic, ends don't meet, and there are underlying issues we lose some people before we even begin.  That's not to say we don't try.  We do.  Each year we run courses for our largest homeless service provider in Southend, and each year we adapt the course to see if we can get more engagement, retention and progression. Last year was the best ever by those measures so we keep on, keeping on.

From that original all-male group I met and blogged about in 2016, we've had one learner join Ways to Wellbeing provision and I saw three more come in for wider IAG last week. Here's the result of a writing exercise the learner who joined Ways to Wellbeing agreed we could share.

I Remember Hope?

I remember the bus trip from Eastbourne to Brighton.

I remember walking up and down the promenade with just 21 pound.

I remember the neon signs, sickly smells and pumping sounds.

I remember the 24-hour restaurant, 24-hour internet cafe and lying drunk upon the black bins in the centre of town.

I remember finding money on the floor outside the clubs, iPod earphones, someone's drugs, unopened booze, screeching seagulls, dirty pigeons, noisy cars.

And early morning June fog.

With a balmy red sun.

Amongst the low level clouds.

I remember that, while I was there, I was down, but not as it appeared, out.


Where next?


Linda Buckland's picture

I just wanted to say what a beautuful an poignant piece of prose you learner has written - it brings out something deep inside; whatever you're doing keep on doing it it's obviously reaching the parts others can't reach.

Lin, Portsmouth

Fiona Marriner's picture

Thank you for sharing that amazing piece of writing. What a journey he must have had to have been able to get to a place where he could write it.

Makes us remember why we're doing what we do and that it's 100% worth it!