Project Description

The Diversity House Centre for Innovation and Development Project

The Diversity House Centre for Innovation and Development is a project that is supported by the UK Government for a total of six months, from November 2021 to June 2022, through the UK Community Renewal Funding (UKCRF).

Delivering a comprehensive, all-encompassing intervention service to marginalised and disadvantaged people in Swale and Kent, both individually and collectively, is the core goal of the project. This is done by providing them with opportunities to acquire and advance their life skills and competences.

The goal of the initiative is to develop understanding and support among individuals from various racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds in order to establish a whole circle of empowerment.

The initiative addresses intersectionality, that is, no one axis is be used to evaluate individuals. People have several interconnected social identities. Gender, skin tone, marital status, parenthood, receiving benefits, or experiencing domestic abuse are not relevant factors. At Diversity House, we take a holistic approach to people, considering all the roles they play in life as well as any prejudices that may have an impact on them, in order to reframe their prospects and inspire and raise aspirations.

The project supports those who have lost their jobs and experienced effects from the virus on their physical and emotional health, not only those who are marginalised. To help people return to work, they require assistance in re-establishing contact and in regaining their mental health, wellbeing, and resilience.

We assist anyone who have been impacted by the Corona virus in terms of their health or social isolation. Since they have been kept out of the community for such a long period due to the virus, many people are anxious about returning because they have grown more reclusive, lonely, isolated, widowed, ill, or unemployed.

The degree of intervention we offer is intended to assist those who, due to a disadvantage they have faced—such as emotional harm, the inability to read and write, a lack of motivation and support, violence and criminality, or addiction—are unable to enrol in school, college, or higher education. Each person’s needs and the extent of our support will be considered.

Project Activities Timetable

The Activities of the Project

The DH classroom is a dynamic environment requiring the implementation of creative and innovative teaching strategies to meet students’ individual needs.  Our coaches and trainers have the creative ability to bring dull academic concepts to life with visual and practical learning experiences, helping young people to understand how what they are learning applies in the real-world.

With a variety of people of mixed abilities our coaches use co-operative learning to work together by promoting small group or whole class activities.  Through verbally expressing ideas and responding to others, people will develop their self-confidence, as well as enhancing their communication and critical thinking skills which are vital throughout life.  Solving puzzles, conducting experiments using music and acting out short drama sketches are just a few examples of how cooperative learning will be incorporated into our sessions.

Our coaches will pose thought-provoking questions which inspire people to think for themselves and become more independent learners.  They will be encouraged to ask questions and investigate their own ideas to help improve their problem-solving skills as well as gaining a deeper understanding of concepts, both of which are important life skills.

Coaches will allocate tasks based on the person’s abilities, to ensure no one gets left behind and take each person’s unique learning needs into account.  In effect, our courses are more than just teaching a subject like time management skills, they are about implementing an effective behaviour management strategy to gain the person’s respect and ensure that each individual has an equal chance of reaching their full potential in a calm productive learning environment.

Career Advice and Business Skills Classes

We provide career counselling and business skills classes as part of Diversity House’s Centre for Innovation, Development, and Empowerment. This is to assist people who are not in employment, education, or training, people who have been made redundant as a result of Covid, people with little formal education and thus lacking in basic skills, workless families, and people for whom further education is not an option in acquiring and improving their vocational, life, and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to encourage entrepreneurship and increase their employability, which will not only improve their own lives but also the socioeconomic development of our community as a whole. This class also benefits service users’ mental health and wellbeing, giving them the confidence to strive for more.

Cyber Security Course

We are offering a cyber security class through Diversity House’s Centre for Innovation, Development, and Empowerment. This is intended to assist people who are not in employment, education, or training, people who have been laid off as a result of Covid, people with little formal education and thus lacking in basic skills, and workless families in acquiring and improving vocational, life, and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to foster entrepreneurship and increase their employability, which will benefit not only their own lives but also the socioeconomic development of our community as a whole. This class also improves service users’ mental health and well-being, giving them the confidence to strive for more.

ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) Class

The project beneficiaries, some of whom speak English as a second language, are given ESOL and conversation classes. This is to help them with day-to-day conversation, remove barriers to employment, and strengthen their community inclusion. These classes assist people who are not in employment, education, or training in acquiring and improving life, social, and vocational skills. The ability to write and converse in English increases individuals’ chances of engaging in entrepreneurship and increasing their employability, thereby improving not only their own lives but also the socioeconomic development of their communities. These classes also have a positive impact on the service users’ mental health and wellbeing, giving them the confidence to strive for more.

Graphic Design and Creative Art Classes

Graphic design and creative art classes are among the activities provided as part of the funded project to encourage people who are not in employment, education, or training, people with little formal education and thus lacking in basic skills, people who cannot afford further education, and workless families to acquire and improve their vocational, life, and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to encourage entrepreneurship and increase their employability, which will benefit not only their own lives but also the socioeconomic development of our entire community. This class also benefits service users’ mental health and well-being, giving them the confidence to strive for more.

Hair and Beauty Class

Hair dressing and braiding are important vocational skills that are being taught as part of the UKCRF-funded project. The hair and beauty course teach students how to do cornrows and plaiting. As a result, those who are not in employment, education, or training, as well as those with little formal education and thus lacking in basic skills, and workless families, will be able to gain or improve their vocational, life, and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to encourage entrepreneurship and increase their employability, which will benefit not only their own lives but also the socioeconomic development of our entire community. This class also benefits service users’ mental health and well-being, giving them the confidence to strive for more.

Health Class

We are hosting a health class as part of Diversity House’s Centre for Innovation, Development, and Empowerment. This is to assist people who are not in employment, education, or training, people who have had little formal education and thus lack basic skills, and workless families in acquiring and improving their vocational, life, and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to foster entrepreneurship and increase their employability, which will benefit not only their own lives but also the socioeconomic development of our community as a whole. This class also benefits service users’ physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as their confidence to achieve more.

IT, Internet and Digital Skills Classes

We offer IT, Internet, and Digital Skills classes as part of Diversity House’s Centre for Innovation, Development, and Empowerment. This is to assist people who are not in employment, education, or training, people who have been made redundant as a result of Covid, people for whom further education is not an option, people who are digitally excluded due to a lack of IT skills, people with little formal education and thus lacking in basic skills, and workless families in acquiring and improving vocational, life, and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to encourage entrepreneurship and increase their employability, which will benefit not only their own lives but also the socioeconomic development of our entire community. This class also improves service users’ mental health and well-being.

Sewing Class

As part of Diversity House’s Centre for Innovation, Development and Empowerment, we are running a sewing class. This is to support people not in employment, education or training, people with little formal education and so lacking in basic skills, and workless families to acquire and improve their vocational, life and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to encourage entrepreneurship and to increase their employability, which will not only improve their own lives but also the socio-economic development of our community as a whole. This class also benefits service users’ mental health and wellbeing, increasing their confidence to go forward to achieve more.

Yoga Class

As part of Diversity House’s Centre for Innovation, Development and Empowerment, we are running a sewing class. This is to support people not in employment, education or training, people with little formal education and so lacking in basic skills, and workless families to acquire and improve their vocational, life and social skills. Individuals can use these skills to encourage entrepreneurship and to increase their employability, which will not only improve their own lives but also the socio-economic development of our community as a whole. This class also benefits service users’ physical health, mental health and wellbeing, increasing their confidence to go forward to achieve more.

Skills to be Included

All courses and interventions individually tailored to suit people with complex needs

Life and Social Skills

  1. Communication skills, confidence building and self-esteem
  2. English reading and writing (literacy skills)
  3. Financial literacy and independence
  4. Citizenship and cultural proficiency
  5. Healthy lifestyle
  6. Reconnecting with the community (after Covid)

Employability

  1. CV Writing Skills and mock interviews 
  2. Time Management
  3. Employment Support and work ethics
  4. Volunteering, work placement, internships, and traineeships
  5. Digital inclusion – developing IT skills, social media, websites, digital security and being comfortable with Zoom and Teams etc.  
  6. Entrepreneurial skills – starting a small business, marketing a promotion
  7. Sewing and crafts to develop a small business 
  8. Furniture recycling skills to develop a small business

Mental Health and Wellbeing

  1. Conflict resolution
  2. Building healthy relationships/relationship management
  3. Understanding anxiety, depression, and stress – building resilience for these issues
  4. Generational issues – working with older people, developing respect for the experience and authority of others 

Service users will receive broad and fundamental assistance with filling out paperwork, making phone calls, obtaining financial aid, budgeting, self-management, coping with life’s challenges, and learning the advantages of leading a healthy lifestyle. This customisable service will provide one-on-one assistance or guide small groups to better suit individual needs.

Teaching Models

Some of the models that we are using to teach the life skills are explained in the following diagrams:

Diagram 1

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A theory of Human Motivation” in the journal Psychological Review)

Diagram 2

Prochaska and DiClemente Cycle of Change Theory to evidence when our interventions are working, and we can break people out of the cycle.

Diagram 3

SWAG Conceptual Framework of Empowerment: From Swale Women and Girls Evaluation Report Diversity House, May 2020.

Project Beneficiaries

The project target crucially the following groups of people:

  • Those “Not in Employment Education or Training” (NEETs)
  • People made redundant because of Covid
  • People with little formal education and so lacking basic skills
  • Workless families
  • People for whom further education is not an option
  • People who are digitally excluded, having no IT skills
  • People at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity or have previously engaged with crime
  • People having suffered or have suffered because of domestic violence