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Thames Reach trainees rejuvenate Southwark Council resource centre

MIMO trainee Francisco Carino
MIMO trainee Francisco Carino

15 March 2013

Trainees from a painting and decorating  scheme, helping formerly homeless people get their lives back on track, are rejuvenating a busy Southwark Council resource centre.

Thames Reach’s Moving In Moving On (MIMO) course aims to boost people’s self confidence and skills in a bid to help them find work. The course consists of specialist training sessions held at the Employment Academy over two weeks followed by an on-site work placement of four weeks.

The latest batch of MIMO trainees were the first group to benefit from the new training facilities on offer at the Employment Academy.

The only criteria for getting on the six-week course is that participants have had an experience of homelessness and are motivated to learn new skills.

The trainees are now putting these new found skills to work renovating a series of rooms at the Southwark Council Multi-Purpose Resource Centre in Westminster Bridge Road that is home to a range of community groups.

Former chef Francisco Carino, aged 52, is one of the trainees. He ended up sleeping rough in west London after struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.  

“My keyworker suggested I enrol on the MIMO course. I wasn’t sure at first as I’d never even held a paintbrush before!

“But I’m really enjoying the course. I’ve learnt so many new skills and I enjoy a challenge. The routine has helped me a lot as well as I need to keep busy.

 “After four years spent living on the streets, I was at rock bottom. But now I’m settled in my own flat and I’ve been off the drink and drugs for over a year. The MIMO course has really inspired me and I feel ready to get back into full time work again. I’d definitely like to continue working in painting and decorating.”

Thames Reach’s Employment and Resettlement Area Manager, Monica Geraghty said: “Basing the course at the Employment Academy has meant that we’ve been able to make use of the training space that we share with the Building Lives scheme that are also based at the Employment Academy. This represents a new era for MIMO, and means that we are able to make the best possible use of the facilities at the Academy”

For more details on the MIMO course, see: