The Jericho Foundation was established in 1993, to help support local people in finding employment. It now operates eight Social Enterprises and provides employment and training for marginalised individuals, across Birmingham

How Jericho was Established

Picture: Jericho's Founders and initial supporters: Christine Parkinson, John Mallard, and Salim and Shamim Stephen

The Jericho Foundation started with a simple drop-in service for the local residents of Balsall Heath, Birmingham, in 1987. The area in those days was particularly deprived and unemployment was very high.

The Reverend John Mallard was the Pastor at the Edward Road Baptist Church. He decided to open up the church hall on Wednesdays, and offered a very simple pastoral service with hot drinks and biscuits to local residents, of all faiths.

John also had the idea of setting up a training centre to help some of the local residents to gain skills and experience to help them get into work.

Early Development

In 1993, The Jericho Foundation Charity was established, and the drop-in service developed an employment focus to help locals apply for jobs. With the support of volunteers, locals from the community accessed the service to apply for work using the Jobs section of the weekly local paper, a basic computer and a telephone.

It soon became clear that for some of the local residents, a simple service involving jobs and skills matching and application assistance, was not going to be enough. Some of the barriers being faced by these individuals were complex and challenging, and many people who were accessing the service desperately wanted to improve their lives, but were experiencing a range of barriers that kept holding them back.

Social Enterprises

John and Christine Parkinson, who were on mission in Balsall Heath, and others then embarked on a fundraising journey – to purchase land or a building and realise John’s long-held vision of a training centre.

In 1998, after five years of fundraising, the current home of The Jericho Foundation was purchased, and JCP Community Business Project Ltd was created. This was Jericho’s first Social Enterprise and operated as both a print business and a local ‘Corner Shop’.

The model was based on the ‘Glasgow Works’ ILM model; 60% of time, the client would be engaged in paid employment in the business, 20% on their personal development and 20% on some form of accredited training.

This started a journey of expansion that saw Jericho develop a range of Social Enterprises, each one being established as a result of the combination of client aspirations and responding to the labour market. We also engaged a team of highly qualified and experienced People Support workers, to mentor and train the clients whilst they are part of Jericho.

Jericho Today

Today, we actively seek out and engage people who have significant barriers towards being Fulfilled, Skilled and Employed. Jericho works with the clients to help them overcome these obstacles and gain relevant vocational skills to secure sustainable employment. We do this through providing real work experience in one of our Social Enterprise businesses and we combine this with an individually-tailored package of personal support, guidance and training.

The people who we work with are often held back by a wide range of barriers to employment, training or social inclusion. These might include long-term unemployment, lack of skills or qualifications, homelessness, alcohol or substance misuse, a criminal record, low self-esteem or confidence, mild mental health problems or no history of work experience.

All of our projects are contributing to the core Jericho vision, and are underpinned by our Values of honesty, quality, value-for-money and care for the environment.

Supporting Survivors of Modern Slavery

We are proud to work with a number of Survivors of Modern Slavery. Jericho is one of the only organisations in the UK with the expertise and resources to deliver a complete programme of work experience, training and tailored support to the Survivors of Modern Slavery.

This holistic help enables these Survivors to end their dependency on State Benefits, secure sustainable employment, and become an inclusive and integrated part of their local community.

We are members of a number of local, national and regional networks dedicated to highlighting Modern Slavery in the UK, through practical and Policy initiatives.

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