A message from our CEO
In the wake of Coronavirus, Well Grounded temporarily halted all face to face training and transitioned its aftercare services online in just a week, following a rise in demand for its support services. Our CEO writes about the last 2 months at Well Grounded.
“On the 18th of March Well Grounded made the difficult decision to temporarily close our Academy doors due to the Coronavirus pandemic and move all our training online. Like many CEOs across the voluntary sector I felt a burning sense of social responsibility to adapt and improve our services in response to the Coronavirus. On our final day of face to face training, 24 trainees and WG staff stayed late into the evening to accredit every single one of our talented trainees who were 8 weeks into their 9-week traineeship. All already had jobs confirmed with our network of over 120 employers. This made me incredibly proud, seeing the team and trainees work to the last minute, reflecting the culture and values of the organisation.
Since 2016, across our two academies in Tower Hamlets and Camden we have supported 234 vulnerable adults through our accredited coffee training, mentorship, and employability programme. Over 430 trainees have gone through our doors. Our aftercare support has transitioned 191 into work, training, and education whilst delivering a free professional development and wellbeing programme for all. But we have always been so much more than a training provider and job matching service. We are a community of people bonded through a love of coffee, and its power to develop empathy, resilience, and happiness. A community in which we make meaningful connections and positive steps towards a more fulfilling life.
Since the pandemic, the demand for our support services grew by over 400%. Many of our Graduates lost their jobs, were furloughed or simply didn’t know what their future held. Over 70% are now looking for alternative work, over 50% are in need of a trusted friend to talk to. Very few have a financial safety net to get them through difficult times, their underlying needs making them more vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic.
In just a week we transitioned our aftercare services online including coffee training, mentorship, job coaching, mental health and wellbeing support. We added new services: training and support to move into other industries, providing care packages and more targeted mental health provision, alongside extending our support to the wider hospitality industry. We connected with all our 234 Graduates and came together as a team, a board and a Well Grounded family to fight for the needs of those more vulnerable. I am, and continue to be, proud of everyone working together to direct our efforts to support those most in need.
The future is uncertain for everyone, but what we do know is that our services are even more vital as unemployment levels rise and the hospitality industry comes back to a different talent landscape. Unfortunately, we know the individuals WG supports, those who are most vulnerable, will be hit hardest by the long term implications of the pandemic.
In response, we are strengthening our services by developing a digital platform where coffee hospitality workers can: develop their core skills, access mental health services, receive employability support and gain higher-level qualifications. We will continue to work 1-to-1 with our graduates and the wider industry because we know that it is through meaningful connections that people can overcome the challenges in their life.
We look forward to working with you as we strive for a better future for those most in need.