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Breakthrough Project: helping homeless people find work

5 July 2016

A new report has been launched at the Employment Academy, highlighting Thames Reach’s progress in breaking down the barriers that prevent homeless people from finding and keeping jobs.

The report, entitled Ambition and Aspiration, evaluated Thames Reach’s Breakthrough Project which ran between September 2012 and October 2015 and was funded by the Oak Foundation.

The report, commissioned by Thames Reach and written by consultant Sarah James, established that:


  • Every year Thames Reach was able to help significantly more people to find and maintain employment than it could before the Breakthrough Project was introduced.
  • The Breakthrough Project was highly successful in fostering cultural change within Thames Reach, with staff recognising the importance of employment in helping its service users to live independently.
  • It provided a wide range of training and volunteering opportunities to help people develop the skills and experience necessary to find work.
  • It successfully developed solid partnerships with employers who in turn were confident in taking referrals for temporary and permanent job posts from Thames Reach.
  • The Thames Reach Employment and Resettlement Team provided a mix of formal and informal support, with a focus on high expectations and honest feedback to service users.
  • It also provided support once people were in employment to help individuals progress further, into better jobs, with higher salaries.


Bill Tidnam, Thames Reach director of operations, spoke at the launch of the report earlier this week: “The Breakthrough Project was inspired by the people using Thames Reach’s services, with over three quarters of them telling us they wanted to find work.

“Thanks to the Oak Foundation, we have been able to fund the Breakthrough Project which both increased employment among our services users but also changed perceptions among our staff and the wider homelessness sector about the importance of work.

“The Breakthrough Project evaluation will help us reinforce our message about respecting and believing in former homeless people and how work gives them more money and control over their lives.”

Stacie Kemp, who used to be homeless but who now has a place of her own, also spoke at the launch of the report: “I volunteered with Thames Reach which made me more confident and taught me new skills. I’m now working in the homelessness sector and helping others who have had similar experiences.”

Stacie Breakthrough Launch
Stacie Kemp, who volunteered with Thames Reach and has now found work, spoke at the launch of the report