Harrogate Skills For Living – Meet one of our R2T Partners!

Harrogate Skills For Living – Meet one of our R2T Partners!


We’ve recently launched a new programme for the people of York and North Yorkshire – have you heard? Following the success of our RISE programme, Rise2Thrive (R2T) is the new iteration, with new partners and a mission to support individuals at all stages of their employment journey to boot.

33 partners strong, we’ve collaborated with many of our R2T partner organisations before on various different programmes since our 2007 inception.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing our new Rise2Thrive partners and diving into what they’re offering on the programme.

This week we’re excited to introduce Harrogate Skills For Living (HS4L).

HS4L are an inclusively minded Harrogate based charity, with a strong vision.

They offer a wide range of care and support services to adults with learning disabilities and autism within the local community, with a view of ‘’reducing inequalities’’ and supporting their learners to ‘’overcome the barriers they face to leading fulfilled lives’’.

Initially starting up as ‘The Junction’ in 1994, the team originally became a registered charity in 2010 following the creation of their central hub in North Park, Harrogate, where they began offering ‘day skills’.

In subsequent years, a lot’s changed for the team. They’ve since grown, branching out by offering a range of programmes, training, and starting two new social enterprises – The Harrogate Chocolate Factory & Harrogate Chocolate Factory Café.

You’ll find both of these fantastic enterprises run by and with HS4L’s trainees and those who’ve accessed their services – a safe, secure environment for their learners to gain work experience and cultivate confidence in everything from barista basics to food hygiene and customer service. Only recently, the café was nominated for ‘Best Customer Service’ at the Harrogate Hospitality Awards.

Alongside these enterprises, the team also provide residential care, operate a supported internship programme, deliver Disability Awareness Training to employers, and run employment support programme ‘Our Hive@ Skills Bridge’.

Catching up with Keyworkers Katie & Luke, and Manager Chris, we wanted to learn more about their Rise2Thrive offer and how their existing provision is linking in with our partnership.


So, what’s on offer for participants on R2T with Skills For Living?

The main body of support will be delivered in tandem with their existing ‘Our Hive’ programme. Through this initiative, participants will receive assistance with job preparation, skills assessments, career opportunities, CVs, job searching, and interviews.

Participants will also have the chance to gain work experience with employers who have an existing relationship with HS4L, such as Artisan and Rudding Park, along with one-on-one guidance to help them navigate the workplace, in line with the in-work support strand of R2T:


”We have been lucky to have new work placements available to our learners at Harrogate Hospital, Hemingways and Rudding Park Hotel and we also started working with the Harrogate Homeless Project volunteering, which has been a great experience for all involved.”


Additionally, the team will offer a series of interventions aimed at improving participants’ skills, health, and well-being:


  • ICT for Employment: Develop the basic ICT skills required for employment and learn more about how companies use technology
  • Self-Employment: Participants will acquire the basic skills and knowledge of self-employment and be supported on their journey to running a business
  • Level 1 Food Hygiene Qualification: A one-day course, supported by the Harrogate Chocolate Factory Lead, to gain a Level 1 Food Hygiene Qualification
  • Harrogate Trails- Participants will embark on a 5-week wellbeing walk experience discovering the hidden journeys in and around Harrogate
  • IT for Healthcare: Supported by a tutor, participants will develop skills to use IT to explore health services and access advice and appointments


To refer an individual for support through the Rise2Thrive scheme with HS4L, contact the team at [email protected].

A huge thanks to HS4L for speaking with us! 

Laura Sandiford

Post by Laura Sandiford

Impact Coordinator

A keen storyteller & collaborator, Laura works alongside Hannah as the Impact Coordinator, where she measures and highlights the impact of Better Connect across its business, programmes, and partnerships. She does so by working with a range of people to gather information and stories, which she then translates into engaging content across Better Connect’s channels.

Building relationships and networks is a large part of Laura’s role, alongside ensuring the ‘’Better Connect story’’ is woven throughout all communications.

Laura’s favourite part of the role is connecting with the faces behind the case studies and giving voice to their experiences.

Learn more about Laura