Thames Reach
Friday 17 November 2017
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The GROW vision

Employing workers with a personal experience of

The GROW (Giving Real Opportunities for Work) project is a
Thames Reach initiative designed to:

  1. increase our employment of people with a personal experience of homelessness

  2. encourage other homelessness organisations to do likewise


Thames Reach recognises that by creating enough momentum to change the current culture in this sector, a large number of jobs could become available for people who have:

  • first hand knowledge and experience of homelessness and the use of homelessness services

  • sorted out their own lives to the point where they are able to help others

  • immense value as influential and positive role models for current service users.


By employing homeless people Thames Reach intends to:

  • improve the quality of the services we provide by benefiting from former homeless people’s expertise and enthusiasm

  • raise the standards of the organisation

  • address the discrimination homeless people face in the employment market

  • ensure current and former homeless people are fully integrated in the organisation at all levels.


Audio - The inspiration behind GROW and its implementation
Audio - The inspiration behind GROW and its implementation  - [6.00 MB] John Crowther, Director of Operations, discusses the inspiration behind GROW; the advantages of employing service or ex-service users; how initial fears such as issues of confidentiality were overcome; and concludes with his hopes for the future.

"Thames Reach is an organisation that continually seeks innovative solutions, looks to the future and accepts risk as normal. GROW is an example of ensuring we turn our organisational ethos and values into tangible results rather than maintaining the status quo.

"We know there is much work to do, and it was never going to be easy, but the positive changes the GROW Revolution can bring to our work with homeless people are, in my view, both enormous and undeniable."

Jeremy Swain, Chief Executive

"GROW has been inspired by models in New York, where user employment is far more commonplace, and we see potential benefits for all concerned.

"Thames Reach is prepared to put its money where its mouth is and give real jobs to people who have been homeless. We need to ask ourselves; "if we aren’t, why should we expect other employers to do so?"

John Crowther, former Thames Reach Director of Operations