Support and Learning at Cober Hill

09th May 2018

Dawn Stevenson (SASH), Nicole and Lyndsay Chamberlain (Cober Hill)

We are very fortunate at SASH to have a number of committed business supporters.

Usually this is through donations or fundraising, but at Cober Hill in Scarborough, a  long history as a recreation and educational centre along with an ongoing ethos of continued learning has facilitated some valuable opportunities for our young people.

Cober Hill General Manager Lyndsay Chamberlain has been an ardent supporter of SASH ever since she first heard about our work through the Rotary Club of Scarborough Cavaliers. “When I heard about what SASH does, it struck a chord because my son was 20 at the time and you think if he was ever in that situation you’d want to know that something was available for him. You often think of adults who are homeless but you never ever think of young people being homeless. Where do they actually go?”

Lyndsay has twice taken part in the SASH Sleepout in Scarborough to help raise funds for our work, but just as importantly she has been helping our young people directly by offering work experience and paid employment at Cober hill.

“We currently have two young adults who are working here, one who has recently left SASH and another who is still there.

“Nicole was due to start an apprenticeship in Level 3 hospitality at college but that hasn’t started yet, so I’ve given her a contract. If the apprenticeship doesn’t happen we can look at other routes. She’s a good worker, and she’s keen as well. If she wants to stay and develop, we can pay for her training.

“The other lad works two days a week. He wasn’t ready for full time work, so we offered him what he was able to cope with at the moment. He has some health issues and has not been in education or employment, so it’s a matter of him taking small steps. We’re flexible with that. We understand the issues so we can support him. Because of our ethos of continued learning and social impact, it’s not like a normal employer where if they’re late then they’re sacked. It’s a great environment for them to be in.”

A testament to the benefit of opportunities such as these is SASH lodger Adam, who spent a day a week last year helping the Cober Hill Head Gardener. Adam hadn’t been in education for several years, but working in the grounds at Cober Hill gave him the confidence he needed to take steps back into education. Adam is now at college full time.

Lyndsay feels the culture of Cober Hill is particularly helpful to young people who lack confidence as a result of their difficult personal circumstances. “We have a tea breaks with everyone together so they’re part of the team straight away.  Nobody knows your background, so they’re all in together. It’s a very inclusive environment.”

Asked if she thinks other businesses could help in this way, Lyndsay said: “I think it’s good to be able to give somebody an opportunity that they wouldn’t normally have, and I can’t think why you wouldn’t.   We do it anyway because it’s part of our values, but other large employers should be able to make the same kinds of offers to these young people.”