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St Mungo’s hires homeless people to redecorate Southwark offices

London SE1 website team

Clients from St Mungo's painting and decorating social enterprise ReVive are half way through the project's biggest contract to date - redecorating the charity's offices in Rushworth Street.

St Mungo’s hires homeless people to redecorate Southwark offices

Since the beginning of March a four-strong crew from ReVive has been re-decorating the home of St Mungo's skills and employment teams in Rushworth Street. The office is the workplace of 45 staff members and the base for many of the charity's social enterprises and training projects.

ReVive began in 2009 as an enterprise offering clients who have successfully completed the charity's painting and decorating programme the chance to work on live contracts, gain professional qualifications, and volunteer on a wide variety of different projects.

Kevin, a member of the ReVive team redecorating the Rushworth Street building, said: "I started on the painting and decorating course in October and was in the workshop for a couple of months.

"I've got experience doing this sort of work since school and wanted to do more – it gets me back into a routine. I've worked on a couple of projects so far and I'm proud of myself; my mum's proud of me.

"I'm looking to do more, build up my skills and confidence, get back into paid work, maybe start my own business."

On completion, the team will have given a fresh coat of paint to 35 rooms and used approximately 500 litres of paint – enough to cover 6,000 square metres.

Training and enterprise manager Alpheous Little said: "Doing up St Mungo's Rushworth Street offices is a major job for ReVive and a great opportunity for clients

"ReVive has worked on decorating in 17 hostels since November 2009 and has decorated over 70 rooms and flats in the last year.

"The scheme is helping many of our clients to gain valuable on the job training, work experience and new skills – and, most importantly, is helping them grow in confidence and self esteem."

ReVive is one of 13 vocational schemes at St Mungo's. Other projects include Putting Down Roots gardening training, Bricks and Mortar bricklaying and plastering, experience in a wood workshop, learning sound recording techniques in a hostel-based recording studio and a new kitchen fitting workshop. These run alongside literacy, numeracy and educational courses run with a range of local colleges and FE organisations.

ReVive was the brainchild of a St Mungo's client, which St Mungo's staff and clients then developed together into an enterprise.

In 1983 86 per cent of the charity's clients were in work. Today, only 4 per cent are in employment, two thirds have been out of work for five years or more, and around 15 per cent have never worked at all.

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