New Beginnings is a vocational development program for adults with employment barriers. It provides individual and group-based training and support, work experience placements, and supported work search. The target group is marginalized and vulnerable people including those with disabilities, mental health issues, addictions, social isolation, poverty, and limited life skills. A second program priority is finding or developing positive, flexible and accommodating work placements for experience and entry level paid employment.
The program has been overwhelmed with both the numbers and complexity of need of participants. Half of the people applying or referred to the program have chronic mental health, disabilities/autism complicated by many other challenges such as inadequate housing and poverty. On the other hand there is a rapidly increasing food security movement in the community which brings many entry level work opportunities. It is our intention to develop a farm/garden skills component to the program designed specifically for the participants with the highest needs.