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Employment – everyone deserves a chance

We caught up with Greg Mangham, Founder & CEO, Only A Pavement Away.

Established in 2018, Only A Pavement Away connects forward thinking employers in the hospitality industry and charities working with people facing or experiencing homelessness, prison leavers and veterans, to help place them into long-term, stable employment.

Our story

Only A Pavement Away was founded and inspired by Greg and Gill Mangham, who refused to accept that people facing homelessness or sleeping on the streets, were in these situations due to some fault of their own. At the same time, there was an increasing awareness that the hospitality sector needed to recruit to meet the needs of a growing industry.

It seemed only sensible therefore, to marry the need for new team members with those who, with the right opportunity, would be able to get their lives back on track.

Employment plays an important role in breaking the cycle of homelessness, not just through income which helps sustain housing, but by raising people’s confidence, improving their mental health and wellbeing, and creating new personal networks.

The testimonial below from a former prisoner at HMP Cardiff speaks volumes about the impact of our work:

My life was in complete meltdown, I was in a really bad place from selling and taking drugs. I was sent to prison for a period of 3 years. Whilst being in jail I didn’t do any anything positive. I was released and within 3 months was back, and this kept happening for 2 years.

The last time I got recalled I said to myself I needed to change. That’s when I met Julie from Only A Pavement Away. If I’m completely honest this was my turning point – Julie kept to her word on everything she said she would do.

Only A Pavement Away arranged an interview for the day after my release and helped me with clothing for it too. I was given a chance at a job in a pub and I’ve never looked back since. The charity has since helped me with transport, further training and connected me with other employers too.

Without this help I would never have been able to change my life – they have changed the future for myself and my children.

Working with HMPPS

Since 2019, Only A Pavement Away have been working closely with HMPPS to create employment opportunities for prison leavers. The charity runs a jobs board so prisoners can apply for jobs advertised by national hospitality employers.

Miriam, Prison Employment Lead at HMP Hollesley Bay, said of the partnership:

We have worked with OAPA for around a year and they have been amazing. Through them I have successfully got 3 gentleman into employment on release and one into training.

The guys continue to be supported on release, which helps them start work successfully.

If all sectors had the equivalent my job would be so much easier!

To add, over the last year the charity have been an instrumental partner in co-delivering events as part of the New Futures Network Unlocking Potential sector drives.

Greg is also part of HMP Hollesley Bay’s Employment Advisory Board, that works with the prison on their employment approach. He said:

Over the next six years there will be thousands of vacancies in the hospitality industry.

Outside of the moral and wider societal benefits for supporting prison leavers, veterans and people who have experienced or at risk of homelessness into work, the work is underpinned by a strong commercial and financial benefit to the hospitality, pub and restaurant industries.

We look forward to working with partners to drive forward this vital work.

Find out more about Only A Pavement Away.

By Greg Mangham, Founder and Chief Executive, Only A Pavement Away