A 'tight, supportive community' for our trainees

Rise Bakery is part of Providence Row, a charity that has offered trainee schemes to people affected by homelessness, regardless of their support needs, for more than 6 years. 

We wanted to find out more about how our trainee schemes help support people with mental health issues, so we caught up Alana, an Occupational Therapist at Chase Farm Hospital’s forensic mental health service, to find out why she refers people into our schemes. 

“My work varies from patient to patient but my main objective is to help people develop their independent life skills to get them ready to move back into the community. I work on a rehab ward which runs activities including cooking skills, but in addition to this we take them back out into the community to find services they can work with as well as work experience placement opportunities such as Providence Row.” 

Here at Providence Row (the home of Rise Bakery) we pride ourselves on offering a safe, welcoming space for people to build up their skills and confidence. Alana explains. “They give patients the opportunity to get off the ward and do a ‘structured activity’ away from the hospital. It helps them feel as though they are independent in the community and this is really important for them. It’s a gradual process and takes time. 

Our trainee schemes in catering and baking help people develop transferable skills, but for Alana’s patients, they also help them start to think about what they might want to do when they leave hospital.

“A lot of patients want to do paid work, but it might not be appropriate for them yet and Providence Row is a great starting point for them.”
Trainees can also take advantage of our other services, including IT lessons, help with getting into work, training or further education and support with mental health and substance misuse issues. We work hard to make sure our schemes are accessible to everyone and that our trainees feel safe and supported while they’re with us. Alana describes how one trainee had experienced abusive comments and a lack of support at another work placement. But at Providence Row and Rise Bakery, he has been able to flourish:

“When he started working with Asia at Providence Row, he saw that not all places were like his previous work experience placement. Now he’s got so much confidence and he is excited about the future and wants to try new things. He feels valued as a trainee at Providence Row. Soon he’s going to be discharged from hospital and that will be a big change for him, but being involved with Providence Row will give him some continuity after he leaves hospital. He’ll have somewhere familiar to go to and people he can trust to talk to as he adapts to his new life.”
When we asked Alana whether she would recommend our trainee schemes to other therapists, she said she would ‘absolutely’. 

“At Providence Row they support our patients properly. They are part of a tight, supportive community. It’s a place where they can feel normal again.” She continues.

It’s great to hear from Alana about how we’re helping support her great work with some of Chase Farm’s patients and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with her long into the future.

If you want to find out more about Providence Row’s trainee schemes you can visit our other website www.providencerow.org.uk to find out more.