Prior to the pandemic, The Margins Project (Margins) had approximately 200 attendees at its drop-ins every year. These numbers have increased in recent years as we have refined and changed the focus of our services from the provision of food towards more advice, advocacy and employability, with the aim of helping our clients make meaningful and sustainable changes to their lives. Margins has grown from its historic roots as a soup kitchen to now offer:
- Crisis Services (in the form of Drop-In Services offering hot meal, advice on housing and benefits, showers and a Cold Weather Night Shelter*).
- Support Services (through such initiatives as English as a second language courses, numeracy training, a job club and therapy); and a
- Supported Employment Programme (primarily though our café training programme but also through office roles*).
More than this, our guests report a real sense of community and trust when they visit Margins -The pandemic has impacted on the services that we can offer. With the Union Chapel venue closed, as a group of organisations, we continue to face an enormously challenging time.
However, during the crisis, The Margins Project adapted our services to ensure our food takeaway and advice support could continue; Union Chapel Project increased its community emergency response, and in partnership with other services, charities and groups, supporting and engaging many people in the local community experiencing extremely challenging times.
It remains a time of challenges and uncertainty, both for Union Chapel and for our wider society. Whilst the Everybody In scheme appeared to temporarily alleviate homelessness, the pandemic has already hit the most vulnerable hardest, and the longer term social and economic impact of the pandemic will most likely impact further.
Building on our work during the pandemic, Union Chapel Project launched pilot community programmes to re-connect, support, inspire and empower our local communities. The programme particularly engages vulnerable families, migrants and asylum seekers; young people; people who are ethnically diverse and have experienced racism; and the LGBT community – all groups with a strong intersectionality with the experience of homelessness, and who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Over the next year, a new strategy aiming to better integrate the work of Margins and Union Chapel Project will be developed and implemented, building on our reputation as an amazing performance venue delivering genuine social good. The Union Chapel strategy will focus on community engagement, empowerment, ownership and social justice, alongside the ambition to be more accessible, diverse and sustainable where all our communities feel and have a sense of belonging – to become a leading ethical arts centre for all.
The first stage of this community programme is engaging and supporting people experiencing homelessness or crisis. The Engagement Coordinator is integral to coordinating our direct access services supporting people in crisis, to engaging our wider community experiencing challenging times, and to working closely with the Supported Employment Programme and other community programmes in Union Chapel.
Duties and Responsibilities
Service delivery and management
- To coordinate the direct access and engagement services (including crisis drop-in services, night shelter and community drop-in activities)
- To coordinate volunteers, staff and guests engaged in these services to ensure smooth running and efficient delivery.
- To ensure guests are aware of various in-house programmes and facilities as well as encourage them to access these services.
- To work closely with the Supported Employment Programme (SEP) and wider Union Chapel programmes to ensure an integrated offer to people accessing the direct access service.
- To refer guests and Supported Employment trainees as appropriate to internal services and external partner agencies, as appropriate, for suitable embed and structured robust support plan.
- To engage, and where appropriate, deliver outreach and engagement workshops to engage a wider community of people who are at risk of homelessness or crisis.
- To support Union Chapel’s wider response to the Covid crisis and coordinate our community emergency response with the manager and the CEO.
- To support the distribution of advice and creative resources and donation/support packs to benefit our guests/service users and other vulnerable communities.
- To oversee and ensure shower and laundry facilities are available and clean for guests throughout drop-ins
- To ensure volunteers adhere to essential policies and procedures around safeguarding, health and safety, and coronavirus guidance.
Service Development & Monitoring
- To work with Margins Manager to inform the CEO and UCM board review the strategic service delivery, including community outreach activities.
- In liaison with Margins Manager to ensure direct access to services are best meeting service users’ needs and are developing in line with the external changing climate (benefits, services, immigration regulations), engage in methods of evaluation of services – observation, consultation and research.
- Where required, coordinate the direct access services to better suit the needs of our community in consultation with Margins Manager, the community, staff, volunteers.
- Work with Margins Manager and wider organisation teams to support the development of Margins’ wider programmes.
- Support the strategic move and realignment of our service towards a strength-based, co-produced approach.
Line & Volunteer management
- Line-manage and rota the volunteers
- Oversee the Volunteer Programme for the direct access service, and support the review and improvement of the Volunteer Programme across Union Chapel.
- Recruit volunteers from the community, encouraging Margins guests and people with lived experience to volunteer to become a productive part of the Margins community and offer on-going personal support
- In liaison with Margins Manager, provide initial training for new volunteers; design appropriate training and development of volunteers, monitor and encourage progress and where appropriate, deliver training.
- Funding pending, assist in the management and support of kickstart young employees (details TBC.
Partnerships and Communications
- Where appropriate and delegated, act as an ambassador for Margins and Union Chapel to ensure community involvement, positive cooperation with local organisations and Islington Council; lead contact on access and engagement service with key partners and Islington council
- Support partnerships and attend networks meetings to support and inform crisis and engagement activities where necessary and appropriate
- Support the Margins Manager in the development of effective promotional materials for the project and PR requests, as and when
- Document Margins and community activities through photos and videos; provide content for social media, reports and marketing.
Monitoring & Reporting
- Coordinate embed and improved monitoring and data collection methods with guests, to help grow our insight into who we are supporting and how we can improve.
- In liaison with Margins Manager, Collect and compile statistics relating to demand for project services, outcomes and volunteer attendance.
- Support the Margins Manager to produce board and funder reports as required
Finance & Fundraising
- Work with Margins Manager to ensure that project expenditure is to budget and plans.
- Support Margins Manger and wider UCP with funding reports, case studies, funding opportunities, as and when needed.
- In liaison with Margins Manager, work with the team and wider Union Chapel to continue to review how our services, staff and volunteering opportunities, Supported Employment Programme and wider activities are diverse and representative of our communities.
- Ensure our services and activities serve to improve diversity and representation, and address as well as tackle discrimination and oppression at all opportunities.
- Support Union Chapel’s developing Diversity Plans, towards an organisation that is more representative and owned by our local communities.
Charity Governance and Operations
- Support the Margins Manager in the development and implementation of organisational policies, and procedures
- Work with the Head Chef and Margins Manager to ensure that the kitchen operates within Health & Safety and Food In liaison with Margins Manager and head Chef, coordinate Hygiene procedures are UpToDate.
- Responsible for ensuring relevant staff and volunteers are suitably DBS-checked
Undertake any other duties that may be reasonably required
PLEASE NOTE: responsibilities and job title may change following governance and structure review
- Experience of working with people with lived experience or at risk of homelessness, people experiencing isolation or oppression, along with an understanding of the issues that face them.
- Experience of coordinating direct access and outreach community services in a team setting within the homelessness sector or other civil society settings.
- Experience (and if possible, qualifications) around providing advice, guidance and pastoral care to people in crisis and people entering employment/training.
- Understanding of (and ideally experience of) the importance of arts and creativity in transforming lives.
- Experience of recruiting and managing volunteers and overseeing volunteer programmes for the whole community.
- Experience of working in close partnership with other services, groups and organisations.
- Excellent communication skills and proficient in IT skills
- A willingness to work flexibly and develop the role to best meet the needs and changes of the organisation and our communities.
- Committed to personal and professional development.
- Experience of developing and coordinating services towards being strengths-based, people-focused and co-produced.
- Fundraising and budget management experience.
- Experience of working with third sector organisations in the London Borough of Islington.
- Experience of delivering training to volunteers including people with lived experience.
We particularly encourage applicants from backgrounds currently underrepresented at Union Chapel and the wider sector, including people from diverse ethnic communities and people with lived experience and/or from communities this programme intends to engage. This includes residents of social housing; people with experience of homelessness; migrants/asylum seekers; young people; the LGBT community; and people from communities that have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 *Night shelter and supported employment programme impacted during pandemic and government restrictions.
Please submit either a 2-page covering letter & CV: OR a 4 minute video & CV, addressing the person specification. Please also complete the Equal Opportunity Monitoring form. The EOM form will be treated in confidence and will not be seen by the staff directly involved in the appointment.
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and we actively encourage people from a variety of backgrounds with different experiences, skills and stories to join us and influence and develop our working practice.