The Circle Café team visit Street & Arrow in Glasgow

Last week, some members of The Circle team and Alan Gunn from Dundee City Council visited Street & Arrow in Glasgow.

Street & Arrow dishes up tasty modern street food. However this social enterprise does more than just good grub, it’s also serving up second chances for its employees. Street & Arrow hires people with convictions for twelve month blocks. During that time workers are paired with a mentor who can help them master everything from basic employability skills like turning up to work on time through to debt management and relationship issues. 

Caitlin Collins, our Café Supervisor wrote the following blog post about her experience and what she feels she will benefit from visiting them:

Street & Arrow Visit

Ian Murray, founder of Street n Arrow got the idea after a trip to Los Angeles where he found Homeboy Industries.

Homeboy Industries is a youth program founded in 1992 by Father Greg Boyle. They provide hope, training, counselling and remove tattoos to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of the community.

Through determination and hard work Ian Murray had an idea and made it happen.

We spoke to Steve Mackin, the Operations Manager and Business Developer, who told us some information on how their program is run.

We found out that there are 2 chefs, 2 mentors and 4 trainees who each receive full-time training for the year plus 6 months of extra support.

The trainees are brought in at staged intervals throughout the year which means that those who have started before them who have had some training can then pass on their knowledge to the new candidates. This helps them to gain their confidence and gives them some experience in a leadership position. They also then have the opportunity to become mentors.

Some of the challenges that the trainees face are trying to break away from the gang culture that many of them are accustomed to and even certain things that many of us take for granted like being able to get out of bed in the morning, getting to work or gaining the confidence to come out of their comfort zone.

They have something called a “check in” where when they arrive in the mornings they have group sessions and each individual gets their chance to say how they are feeling that day/week. They also have days out where they do team building activities.

What I took away from this visit

As my role as Café Supervisor it was very interesting to find out more about how the program runs and how they help break down the barriers each individual faces. Some of these techniques such as the “check in” and doing activities to help with team building and confidence will be something I hope to do with the 6 care experienced young people joining our team.

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