Get Ready & Move On (GRAMO) helps people in Rhondda Cynon Taf who are getting ready to become tenants. The goal is to help them manage their new homes effectively.
The people joining the project are some of the most vulnerable in RCT. They often have a lot of difficult things going on in their lives. Many have had problems with finding and keeping a home in the past. They might also be dealing with mental health issues, substance abuse, or other challenges that have led to them being homeless.
These individuals also struggle with feeling good about themselves, not having good role models, and not getting much help from family or friends. They might have had bad experiences with the housing system before.
The project is funded by the Housing Support Grant Team at RCT County Borough Council and delivered by Trivallis. GRAMO works with people who have been staying in temporary or supported housing, including those who have been homeless or have left the care system. Some of the participants are as young as 16.
Dorian Griffiths is the Pre-tenancy Project Officer at Trivallis and the person in charge of GRAMO. He has been running the programme for the last five years. Dorian loves his work and wants the participants to feel safe and have fun while they learn.
Dorian explains: “To me GRAMO is not just a pre tenancy training project, it is a representation of how things can change. It’s about changing the mindset and believing that if you work towards something and believe in a vision then you can change your situation. I have been delivering GRAMO for the past 5 years and seen so many changes in our services delivery to tailor and adapt to our learners needs. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have stayed so long if I didn’t believe GRAMO can make a difference.
“We work with the most vulnerable people across RCT, and we pride ourselves on making an impact on their lives whether that is with information, motivation or building self-confidence. We have only one rule during the GRAMO Sessions ELE – “Everybody Love Everybody”. We laugh when we first say it, but it quickly becomes our motto after each session.
“We promote a sense of community and take those values into our next tenancies, because if we are proud of where we live, we will work to look after it. It’s not only about making that next step, but also about sustaining it.”
The participants go through six short modules. They learn about finding a place to live, talking to landlords, keeping their home clean and safe, understanding rental agreements, managing money, and solving problems.
The programme is flexible and can be adjusted to fit each person’s needs. There are 121 sessions available depending on what the learner needs. Most people do the programme with others, but some prefer to do it one-on-one.
The sessions can be completed in any order. So, if someone needs to learn about benefits and grants right away, they can do that before doing the other sessions. The programme can be completed in one month if someone is moving into a new home quickly, or over a few months if that works better for them.
In the 2022/23 period, 165 people were referred to GRAMO, and 107 finished all six modules. In the first quarter of 2023/24, 42 people have already completed the programme. So, what are the benefits of completing GRAMO?
- People gain the skills and knowledge they need to manage their new homes.
- They start feeling proud of themselves, their homes, and their communities. They become more responsible for their homes instead of just relying on others.
- They learn about the support available to them, so they know where to go if they need help.
- The programme breaks the cycle of moving from one short-term home to another, which often leads to homelessness.
- The participants support each other and build ongoing relationships with others who have faced similar challenges. These relationships continue even after the programme ends.
- GRAMO helps participants trust housing professionals. Dorian is the first person they meet, and if that relationship is positive and supportive, it makes it easier for them to trust others, like the people who manage the neighbourhood, help with tenant issues, or deal with rent.
Everyone who finishes the programme gets to go to a graduation ceremony and receives a certificate. For many, this is the first certificate they’ve ever received, and it makes them feel really good about themselves.
To find out more about GRAMO, visit: Preparing for a tenancy – Trivallis
This piece was written by Catherine Evans, Head of Communications at Trivallis who shares her observations of the GRAMO programme.