Cumbria Community of Practice

Thursday, 28 October 2021
Online - 9.30am-12pm

Improve literacy and support for those experiencing homelessness!


How can we provide better support for people who are experiencing homelessness, to improve literacy and other key skills?

How effective are local areas in delivering improved and innovative ways to offer key skills to those who need it within the homeless sector?



At least 50% of people with experience of homelessness are estimated to have weak or non-existent literacy [1]. Those needing help commonly face significant barriers to participation in formal education services. Regular attendance at classes is less likely for men and women with long-term poor health, inadequate life skills, difficulties with benefits claims, or housing problems.  It is also not unusual for individuals who are ashamed of their poor reading and writing skills to be unwilling to face exposure within a formal setting [2]. 

(As cited at

{1] Jones K (2018). An exploration of third sector employment and skills provision

[2] Olisa, J, Patterson, J & Wright, F (2010) Turning the Key: Portraits of low literacy amongst people with experience of homelessness. London. Thames Reach.  Available from:

We will hear from: Julia Olisa – Trustee, Chair and co-founder of Literacy100

Julia is a dyslexia specialist who has taught in primary, secondary and higher education.  At London University’s Institute of Education, Julia worked in the Literacy Assessment Centre and has been a volunteer literacy tutor at the homelessness charity Thames Reach since 2006. In 2010 she was commissioned by Thames Reach to write a research report into low literacy and homelessness: ‘Turning the Key’.

If you would like to join us for this meeting, please register your place here.

Talk To Us

Sirea Jabar

Partnership Manager (North)

Sirea works as Homeless Link's Partnership Manager across the North of England.