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Cyrenians Foundations to Employment (Cyrenians)

Norton Park
Karen Quinn
0131 475 2629

Cyrenians’ Foundations to Employment has been delivering an innovative and bespoke employability service to those furthest from employment across the city for the last nine years. The provision of a person-centred, relational approach to address barriers to employment is inspiring, rewarding, frustrating and, at times, challenging - often generating all of those emotions in just one day! With two dedicated Key Workers who promote active engagement and positive progression, it has proven to be highly successful. Evelyn and Karen have extensive expertise in the management of multiple and complex needs and collectively bring over twenty years related experience to the delivery of this much-needed outreach service.

Patience, time and flexibility are prerequisites in our work, as each client has unique issues which are important and impacting on them and their future, so this is not a short term intervention. Each client has uninterrupted intensive support with the same key worker for up to 12 months. This approach promotes active engagement and positive progressions, fosters professional relationships and has shown to be beneficial in order to address the presenting complex and multiple issues. As this is not a generic based case load which can be dealt with through short interventions, our experience has shown that a longer time is needed to allow us to navigate around the issues safely and professionally. We also work alongside the Good Food team in an outreach capacity to find structured and supported volunteering opportunities for clients who struggle to secure work experience elsewhere. A vital part of this work is to help clients find a work life balance, often for the first time in their lives. A key part of this is supporting clients in their lives outside of work; to maintain accommodation and eat and live well and to ensure all areas of their lives are as settled and as balanced as possible. Once clients are ready to seek work we carry out in work benefit calculations to ensure that they gain work which doesn’t disadvantage them. The added value of our service is the in work support. This is offered to enable clients to receive support for an additional 6 months once we have helped them into employment, in order for them to transition from benefits to salary smoothly.

Service Type

Employability, Health / Mental Health, and Volunteering

Client Group

Care experienced, Disability, Homeless / at risk of homelessness, Substance misuse, LGBT+, BME Groups, Criminal Convictions, Lone Parents, Health Conditions, and Long term unemployed

Target Area

All Edinburgh

Age group served

16-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-50, and 50+

Pipeline Stage

Stage 1 / Engagement

Outreach offered


The service has minimal criteria to enable a wider range of individuals to access the support which is delivered on a city wide outreach basis. The service is inclusive to both men and women over the age of 18 years old. Individuals can self-refer or be referred by any public or private service within the city of Edinburgh. Key workers also work with clients with specific needs who have been referred in to the service from Mental Health Agencies, Social Work, Police and DWP. We have built a strong relationship with these agencies over the past 9 years to ensure a smooth transition. Despite being defined as being the furthest away from employment, with this tailored support our clients achieve incredible results.

Our clients often have complex barriers and multiple issues which can include:

  • A history of offending
  • A history of alcohol or substance misuse
  • Low social skills
  • A lack of self-management
  • Low self-esteem or lack of confidence
  • Poor literacy or numeracy skills

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