Informal Learning is a “not for profit” organisation based and rooted within in the Agbrigg / Belle Vue area of Wakefield. Drawing on many years of experience working in the Third Sector and with children and young people, we work across Yorkshire & Humber and have links throughout the UK through strong affiliations to the Rank Foundation, Green Pastures Housing and the YMCA George Williams College in London.
Marilyn Iwanuschak started Informal Learning in 2008, after successfully managing and supporting other organisations and community initiatives across the UK for many years. She has since built a highly qualified and experienced staff team that specialise in several areas. Informal Learning takes great pride in gaining positive results with some of the most disadvantaged and deprived individuals and communities across the district and beyond.
This project supports the homeless and those at risk of homelessness through the provision of supported housing, information, advice and guidance and positive activities. We have a particular specialism in working with and housing ex offenders for whom we offer a bespoke service for those with no fixed abode on release from prison. We also work closely with a wide range of specialist partners including West Yorkshire Probation Trust, Turning Point, West Yorkshire Police, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, Wells Women’s Centre, Groundwork Wakefield, The Saviour Trust and several local prisons.
We house and support a diverse range of service users including young people, males, females, couples and families and our accommodation units are generally situated in and around central Wakefield.
We work closely with the local authority in relation to maintaining our properties to certain standards, creating a safe, suitable home environment. Our all properties are regularly checked on a weekly basis to highlight any maintenance and safety issues. We often source and provide furniture and other items for our service users whenever we can to ensure greater comfort. We receive many kind donations from individuals and organisations in this respect.
We do not merely house service users we support and care for them. Individuals undergo an initial assessment and receive personalised Individual Support Plans, working closely with qualified practitioners in Information, Advice and Guidance.
We have an excellent understanding of the benefit system and initial support will often involve some work in this area. However, our support is tailored to the individual and we can cover a wide range of issues including but not limited to life skills, employment and training, budgeting and finance, health and wellbeing, drug and alcohol misuse and family reconciliation. Our overall aim is to positively move individuals on, so that they can live independently and make positive contributions to their own lives and their communities.
We also provide positive activities for our service users including outward bound residentials, sailing adventures and other excursions and trips, all of which aim to be educational and inspirational. We work with a wide range of specialist partners and support is offered within both one to one and group work settings. We often work with service users prior to them signing up to our service and after they have departed to ensure they are comfortable with what we offer and with living independently respectively. All of our housed service users receive visits to their properties on at least a bi–weekly basis subject to their needs.