Housing association’s scheme helps those with mental health issues learn on the job

A Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association scheme provides skills training for people with mental health issues
A Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association scheme provides skills training for people with mental health issues

Pupils at Hemel Hempstead School will be returning to a spruced up site thanks to a housing association scheme to help people with mental health issues gain valuable skills.

The Workskills project run by Hightown Praetorian and Churches Housing Association has been running for more than 14 years and helps those with mental health problems build confidence and self-esteem in a normal working environment.

The Hemel Hempstead School contract was the scheme’s biggest to date – involving six weeks of painting the corridors and classrooms of the west block in preparation for the new school year.

The team have also undertaken gardening and removals work for Age UK, as well as painting empty properties for the Retail Trust.

Hightown’s day opportunities manager Ramon Kirchgaesser, who heads up the Workskills project, said: “Hightown offers adults affected by mental health problems a wide range of day opportunities from cooking courses and art classes to real work experience in one of two charity shops or with Workskills. This allows them to meet new people and encounter new experiences and gives them a sense of achievement and value in society, as well as making them employable.

“A lot of people will benefit from the work we have done this summer, including the pupils who have gone back to a transformed school this September.

“The Workskills team can do a variety of work such as painting and decorating, grounds maintenance, clearance and removals and portable appliance testing. If you have a task you think the team may be able to undertake, please call me on 07867 902485.”