By donating our time and skills
We help homeless and vulnerable people in our community to find and keep long-term work and get their lives back on track
Winner of the 2023 Thames Reach “Corporate Volunteering Team of the Year” award.
When it comes to the importance of the work we are doing, nothing makes it more evident than when our teamwork with Thames Reach changes a life.
“I feel like I lost myself for a while, but now I’m back, and I’m so much more confident”
Annabelle, Work-Ready Programme graduate
Getting people back to work
Breaking the cycle of homelessness
Homelessness and unemployment go hand in hand and the longer you remain homeless and unemployed, the worse your prospects become. By helping vulnerable people to get back into work, we can enable them to achieve independence and security.
This is why the focus of our work at ELF is on providing the support and training homeless and vulnerable people need to find lasting employment and get back on their feet.
Support throughout the process
Imagine feeling tired, stressed, and not at your physical peak, yet having to scale a mountain without the confidence, training, experience, equipment or team to support you.
For many homeless and vulnerable people, the challenge of finding a job can seem just as enormous. Our volunteers help to break down the process into manageable steps and give people the skills and self-belief they need to navigate their way through.
Transition to Work programme
Helping people gain control of their lives
Working with our charity partners, our volunteers deliver CV training workshops. We help people to identify their strengths, attributes, experience, and potential, and give them the resources and support they need to compile a CV which maximises their chances of getting to interview. Following these workshops, we give one-to-one coaching to develop people’s interview and presentation skills.
So far, sixty percent of the people we have worked with have gone on to find employment and gain more control of their lives. Those who haven’t yet found a job, still have a ready tool kit to draw from as they continue their search.
Giving Back to our Community
How ‘ELF’ began
The Ecovis London Foundation charity (ELF) was founded in early 2016 by the Partners of Ecovis Wingrave Yeats.
When Ecovis staff were asked to choose a cause close to their hearts, for them, the response was obvious: homelessness. With London accounting for over half the nation’s homeless, Ecovis employees encountered people sleeping rough near our Soho office on a daily basis.
The firm already had a strong ethos of giving back, and our Partners decided to create a charity to make a long-term commitment towards tackling the issue.
And so, ‘ELF’ was born! Our charity provides tangible, hands-on support, using the skills and talents of our own staff to help people get back to work. It also reaches out to the local community in which we are based.
“We didn’t just want to donate money or to form a short-term relationship with another charity. We wanted to build a foundation with a sense of permanence. The partner organisations we work with appreciate our consistent support and the fact that our staff give their time and expertise.
ELF brings our corporate responsibilities to life. For our staff, it can be a bit of an eye-opener, but it gives them the chance to see first-hand the benefits of their work.”
Robert McCann, Trustee ELF, and Senior Partner, Ecovis Wingrave Yeats.
Our Charity Partners
Stronger working together
For our efforts to have the most impact, for over five years, we have teamed-up with two other homelessness charities, Thames Reach and The House of St Barnabas. Delivering our workshops, one-to-one support, and work placement opportunities as part of their wider range of services for homeless and vulnerable people in the community.
Our relationships have gone from strength to strength, due to our organisations sharing the same values and ethos, and a commitment to support vulnerable adults. By working collaboratively, we can give people a better chance of getting back to work and getting back on their feet.
Measuring our impact
Our Annual Reports highlight the great work and activities that ELF does on behalf of others less fortunate in the community.
Teamwork with Thames Reach changes a life
Enthusiastic, energetic, and driven, digital skills officer Annabelle provides hands-on IT training and support for homeless and vulnerable Thames Reach clients.
But this outward-going single mum understands the value of the Work Ready Programme more than most. After five years’ enforced unemployment due to serious illness, she was isolated, unhappy, and her confidence was at an all-time low.
The beginning of her future
“I am someone who loves to work. Getting used to being on benefits was really hard. You have no independence – you can’t afford to go anywhere or do anything, and I became quite reclusive. I had low self-esteem and I didn’t think anyone would want to employ me.”
Eventually, with her illness sufficiently under control, she approached Thames Reach for help to get back into the workplace. After becoming a regular user of their Advice and Guidance service, they offered her the chance to volunteer with them and she was eventually invited to participate in their Work Ready Programme, an intensive week-long course of activities aimed at giving participants the skills and attributes they need to find work.
This was the first time Annabelle met Ecovis London Foundation director, David Whelan, and his ELF volunteers.
“David ran a CV building workshop as part of the course – he was lovely, and I felt a really good rapport with him and his team. They helped me tweak and improve my CV and I regularly talked to David after that.”
Gaining valuable work experience with Ecovis
The course led to Annabelle successfully interviewing for a work placement with Ecovis itself.
“I was really shy because I thought I didn’t know what I was doing! They made me feel so welcome and gave me the chance to work in different parts of the firm. It gave me a good insight into what they do – there’s a lot more to accountancy than I thought! It gave me a real boost.”
After her placement, Annabelle was headhunted for a short term role with a local authority, but she couldn’t wait to start volunteering with Thames Reach again.
“I just realised that was where I really wanted to be. My experiences made me realise there are a lot of people out there needing support.”
A vacancy with Thames Reach came up a few months later, leading to Annabelle’s current role.
“I love my job – it’s humbling and had made me a better person. At the end of the day, I feel like I lost myself for a while, but now I’m back, and I’m so much more confident.”