The Golden Centre of Opportunity helps people living across Trafford and inner-city Manchester, including many refugees and asylum seekers, to access housing and other services, to get English and work-related skills, and to get into work.
The Golden Centre of Opportunity helps people living across Trafford and inner-city Manchester, including many refugees and asylum seekers originally from Somalia, to access housing and other services, to get English and work-related skills, and to get into work.
THT initially invested in the centre with a grant of £7000. This enabled them to run a six-month pilot project which brought together their advice, English and employment services into a cohesive package providing a pathway for people to move into sustainable employment with trusted employers. The funded project was a success- helping 60 people to enhance their CVs, 30 of them to get interviews, and 20 people to escape poverty and provide for their families by getting into sustainable work.
One of the people helped was Jeilani. At the start Jeilani had very low English Language and computer skills, no qualifications, and some health problems which had made it challenging for him to get off long-term benefits. He joined the work club and gained qualifications in cleaning as well as confidence in conversational English and IT. Jeilani is now working fulltime as a cleaner in Manchester City Centre, where he can communicate with his supervisor and is able to work efficiently with his team.
Building on the success of their original THT-funded project, the group wanted to do more for people in poverty- but not just rely on grants to get this done. Over a series of focused but informal coaching conversations Jonathan, one of the team’s capacity builders, helped Nasra and Abdi the leaders of the organisation to work out how their services to people in poverty provided value to organisations who would be ready to pay.
The Golden Centre have put their new knowledge and thinking to use. They now present themselves as a charitable ‘profit for purpose’ business, and have gained paying custom including from a Manchester-based Housing Association who are paying for one-to-one benefits advice for their tenants- this is worth the housing association paying as it enables the tenants to pay their rents!
Going forward, the Centre is in talks with others who can pay for the specialist services provided by the centre, including local Job Centres, and further education colleges who are interested in how the centre can help them attract and retain students.