In this series of articles, we’ll be meeting the six current recipients of our Unlocking Potential fund to see what impact our grants have had. This is a fund MTC provides that is shared out across organisations that work with individuals and communities to transform lives on a frontline basis.
In this article we’re looking at Yeldall Manor, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility near Reading for men aged 18 and above.
Established in 1977, Yeldall Manor provides residential rehabilitation services to men struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, working within the context of a Christian ethos. Yeldall Manor excel in their work, particularly in providing meaningful counselling.
“We’ve had years of experience in that field,” explains Becky Williams, a counsellor and therapist at Yeldall. “Our group therapy is very strong and established…we believe that recovery is possible and that recovery is not just abstinence…we regularly witness our residents developing and growing the life skills and self-worth necessary for a healthy, happy life.”
MTC gave a financial grant to Yeldall to support them in their new IT based initiative. Yeldall Manor firstly replaced their antiquated laptops with a new IT suite including up to date computers.
MTC’s funding was partially used to purchase essential new equipment including good quality headsets for the men to complete their courses.
The course currently being run at Yeldall teaches the men how to use computer programmes including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
While Yeldall Manor partners with the local authority who provide these courses, MTC funding has been used to provide staffing both during the training and after, supporting the men with embedding their learning.
In addition to supporting the new IT training with technology and staffing, MTC has supported Yeldall Manor in creating a new library of recovery-based books to educate the men in Yeldall Manor’s care.
This acts as a typical library, with men able to check out books and resources, and with the library nearly redecorated, this is set to open soon and offer additional support.
Residents who have used the IT services so far have already praised it for teaching them practical, useful skills. One resident said “I can now use Excel to help me manage my finances, which will also help when I hope to set up my own business in the future.”
Another resident said “the new IT suite has helped me a lot. I’ve been able to use the laptops to correspond with probation and accommodation services as I’m looking for somewhere to live after Yeldall,” while a third resident commented that the IT room “has helped me keep in touch with family.”
Looking ahead, Yeldall Manor is making plans for real change, with a full kitchen refurbishment nearly completed so that men can take cooking courses. “Historically the work therapy element of the programme has been getting residents to work around the grounds and estate,” explains Becky Williams.
“They can learn basic gardening through to major work such as tree surgery, while others work in the kitchen. Where we’re hoping to go in the next few years is to offer training that results in qualifications.”
There is already work being done at Yeldall Manor to support the men with building up their CVs, and Yeldall is partnering with local businesses including a mechanic who is offering vehicle maintenance courses. “We want to try and give the guys a best chance possible of getting into paid employment,” Becky says. “We’re also about to launch family days where relatives come in and we teach them how to stay safe with an addict in the family and not enable their behaviour.
“This IT course is really one of the first things,” Becky says, discussing Yeldall Manor’s plans to develop their services and deliver more. “We hope to see better outcomes from them achieving qualifications.”