From education to employment

ESF Project Offering Support To Alcoholics Has Great Results In First Year

An innovative project funded by European Social Funding (ESF), aiming to provide educational support for students with alcohol problems has had encouraging result in its first year.

The CASA (Camden Alcoholics Support Association) project offers support for people with alcohol problems who want to continue, or enter further education. The project is being run as a partnership between CASA and the City and Islington College, offering studying opportunities to individuals overcoming alcohol related problems.

The enhanced support offered to students had a positive effect on drop-out rates, with 77 of the initial 135 beneficiaries gaining positive outcomes. The project provided counselling, assistance accessing further education and benefits and helped build student’s confidence and self-esteem. Many of the participants had suffered bad experiences in the work place or had been in rehab or therapy.

The ESF provided £144,944 to the project which finished in 2004, but has secured further funding to continue the project in 2005 and 2006.

Humphrey Apafo, CASA Project Manager explained that “the project offers a route back into education by helping to build beneficiaries” confidence before starting their study, so that they feel comfortable and able to tackle courses. The candidates were referred from alcohol counselling and through our contact with Islington and City College we have been able to assist beneficiaries in the application process, finding courses, providing funding and ongoing alcohol counselling. I feel the project has been very useful, providing someone for beneficiaries to talk to and giving them extra support if they feel it is needed. CASA continues to offer counselling and support for as long as the beneficiaries require, it is not limited to the length of the study period. The European Social Fund has extended the funding for us to continue the project for another two years.”

The success of this first project is encouraging as research indicates that people with alcohol and psychological problems who participate in Entry to Employment projects find it easier to maintain a stable, productive lifestyle.

Dan Atkinson

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