Elevate 2 – Study Visit and Work Project
The Dutch Foundation of Innovation Welfare 2 Work (DFW2W) was the host during PSP Elevate 2 Study Visit in Holland last week. Delegates from North West Recovery Consortium (NWRC), Move On, Turning Point, and the Glasgow Council on Drugs and Alcohol had a full programme of quality visits in the Rotterdam and Drechtsteden region. They also visited the Elevate participants, who were following a customized Dutch work programme.
Carla de Vreij, chairman of DFW2W introduced themselves as the Dutch Foundation, and told about their scope of work and areas of expertise, in The Netherlands and Europe. Several companies and organisations were visited, with support from Welfare to Work expert and consultant Pieter van Schie MA.
Below the highlights:
Dutch Elevate Workplacements
Drechtsteden/Rotterdam: During the studyvisit the delegates also visited workplacements sites. The last couple of weeks Scottish participants followed the Elevate work project in The Netherlands. DFW2W provided a very successful work programme. The participants were on work placement in Rotterdam and Drechtsteden, after long periods of unemployment. The delegates were able to visit and talk with the employers and participants (employees) about their work experience.
Papendrecht -Children’s Farm
One of the workplacements were 2 participants worked was a children’s arm. The purpose of the facility is to provide education in animal welfare – teaching respect towards animals and exposure to a range of wildlife. The children’s farm has linked a classroom and a school garden, a little hospitality area to have a drink and a social bite, where primary schools can benefit from nature and environmental education. This probably felt like the most relaxed working environment, certainly if you are an animal lover. The delegates could appreciate the value of students attending here to care for the animals while learning about work. It’s a special placement, creating opportunities for people who could develop softer skills, before being exposed to a more intensive work placement. That said, hard work did take place! Our 2 Elevate work placement Volunteers gave us a spirited and passionate tour. With an excellent knowledge base and bags of confidence, the value of this type of work for our 2 Elevate participants, and indeed any trainee in this type of work, was clear. The very physical labour aspect was also it seemed, very tiring. As a recognised training company, it is here that people learn the necessary skills, tasks and work of an animal care giver – preparing people for the increased intensity of more mainstream employment.
Rotterdam – Hotspot Hutspot is an initiative where volunteers form a core element. Children work here in the kitchen and learn about food and cooking. Not because they need to do it, but because they want to do it. They are pleased to find it fun and also get a healthy meal in return. So, creator Bob Richters (recovered) creates a beautiful and safe place for children to come together to grow and grow.” He also gives opportunities to people in recovery.
Dordrecht – Opnieuw & Co (New Again & Co) is a social enterprise, a not for profit recycle and welfare to work organization. That is, they do not have a profit target but they do need to work professionally and financially profitable to achieve their social goals & objectives. The participation concept was an eye opener and made a lot of impact on the Elevate delegates. It was here were the spirit of renewal, within a professional social enterprise was seen. Up-cycling and pricing competitively, the company not only creates social employment, but increases public spending capacity by providing an affordable alternative to new products.
The Company Director Marcel van Gogh described to us a business model that that thrives on social employment of marginalised groups through six locations in the Netherlands. The company offers students work placements and opportunities to learn and develop on the job skills, progressing through the various departments within the company. We saw people with multiple employment barriers – physical and mental health conditions; long-term unemployment; criminal convictions; and people with drug and alcohol problems, all developing skills in areas such as tailoring, engineering, pricing, valuing, crafting and repairing. In addition, a highly skilled front of house staff team with the very same barriers attentively looked after the scores of customers coming through its doors. I was hugely impressed by what appeared to be a very professional and profitable operation.
The objectives and goals of Opnieuw & Co are:
Realizing social employment and offering students work places to learn and develop. They do that in cooperation with reintegration companies and service providers, such as; Social Service Drechtsteden (department of social affairs and employment of the municipalities of the Drechtsteden – they have to provide benefits to unemployed people) and BAR municipalities, Bouman GGZ / Antes Group, Da Vinci College, Department of Justice and various other relationships.
More than 550 employees work at Opnieuw & Co, of which 150 are employed and the other are temporarily in trajectories. There are also over 90 people working through Drechtwerk at Opnieuw & Co. There are also over 60 volunteers at Opnieuw & Co. They have a turnover of almost 7 million.
To stimulate and realize reuse, which reduces waste. Opnieuw & Co do this in cooperation with HVC / Network and the various municipalities in which we work. On an annual basis, we process over 4000 K of goods, of which more than 91% is recycled.
Although the circular warehouses are for a broad audience, they also provide a need by offering an affordable alternative for more expensive new items. On an annual basis, they have 550,000 paying customers in their circuit stores. Customers of foundation fees receive 20% extra discount. In severe cases, we make items available for free through referral agencies such as the social service, health care providers, food bank, and so on.
New Again & Co wants to be an innovative, professional, customer-friendly and financially profitable recycle company, aiming at creating employment and developing skills for people, stimulating and realizing reuse and improving people’s purchasing power by providing an affordable alternative for new products.