Aspire Oxford - Retail Matters Week.
In early 2018 Aspire was thrilled to become part of a new multi-agency homelessness prevention project known as “Trailblazer.” Trailblazer is a brand new service working across Oxfordshire to provide early intervention advice and support for anyone at risk of homelessness, funded by a new government programme.
Aspire is providing a team of “Community Navigators” who will work across Oxfordshire to reach people at the earliest warning signs of homelessness, before crisis point is reached. The team will offer brokerage advice and support on issues around tenancies, family breakdowns or debt, as well as access to Aspire’s wider employability support where needed.
Please see below for a case study of Fran, who was homeless 2 years ago and now works as part of the Trailblazer team to protect others from becoming homeless.
Oxfordshire’s city and district councils, Aspire Oxford, Connection Floating Support
Outcome of campaign:
Two years ago, Fran was homeless. Now she’s part of a team preventing others from becoming homeless. This is her story:
Fran became homeless when she was 26 years old following a relationship breakdown. She had lost her job due to mental health issues and was becoming increasingly unwell and isolated. Fran was supported through the homeless pathway, was able to find independent housing and joined Aspire as a trainee in January 2017.
She spent 10 months taking part inwork experience at Aspire; during this time Fran was given specialist support to break down multiple barriers to employment and to improve her mental wellbeing and resilience.
As Fran's confidence, skills and experience continued to grow she felt able to move into paid employment at the Westgate Centre. She then saw that Aspire was recruiting for a new team of outreach support workers to help prevent homelessness across Oxfordshire, as part of the new Trailblazer project. Fran was determined to join the Trailblazer team and was over the moon when she was given the job!
Fran says: "I know from being homeless that so many people can get trapped in the cycle and it's really hard to get out. I'm very privileged to be part of the Trailblazer team and working on homelessness prevention because I don't want anyone to go through what I went through. Aspire is like my family. They do such great work and I feel really privileged to wear the Aspire hat!"