Information advice and support is a vital element of the work. Our experience is that a very high proportion of learners face difficulties that go well beyond their learning needs. The centre is already seen as a place of first resort for help by many students with a wide variety of problems and difficulties including benefits, domestic violence, and immigration issues.
Dealing with a complex society like ours is daunting for women with few language skills and little experience outside the home. Many of the people we work with face difficulties that go well beyond their learning needs, so our outreach workers also offer support, advice and encouragement helping learners to deal with issues outside the classroom which may affect their ability to learn; for example, assisting with form-filling or helping them to understand statutory processes, and helping them to access specialist agencies when necessary.
Essential to this aspect of our work are our very strong links with other local organisations, with a wide range of community groups, and with specialist local services like the Mother Tongue Counselling Service, health visitors and advice agencies.
Through our outreach work and peer support, women access confidential, tailored 1:1 support when they are struggling with all kinds of problems like help filling out forms, understanding statutory processes and accessing specialist agencies for housing, benefits, sexual violence and immigration issues.
Progression opportunities are discussed termly by tutors and from Matrix accredited information, advice guidance advisors from New Directions.