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29 August, 2018
News Story


Clifford Chance provide our homeless residents with a range of workshops and opportunities to support their journey back to employment.

Law firm Clifford Chance has its London HQ based in Canary Wharf, just a stone’s throw away from Caritas Anchor House. Despite spanning five continents, Clifford Chance graciously committed their Responsible Business ideals locally when they came to us offering their help.

Our valued partnership with Clifford Chance has existed for over five years, with our longest standing programme being the 1-2-1 English Mentoring support. The London Borough of Newham is a greatly diverse borough, which we see reflected in our resident group. 73% of our residents come from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, and there are currently nine preferred languages besides English. We believe is it critical for our residents to strengthen their English skills in order to be able to engage with both our services, and any future services they may encounter. Furthermore, many employers expect candidates to have basic reading and writing skills in English. As such, our collaboration with Clifford Chance began.

Currently, six members of Clifford Chance staff volunteer their time to regularly visit Caritas Anchor House. They are each paired up with a resident, who they meet weekly with a minimum commitment of six weeks. However, these partnerships often last much longer, and go beyond helping with English language skills.

So far this year, over 10 residents have received valuable coaching from a volunteer, which have helped to improve their language skills but also their confidence, employability prospects and their ability to form bonds and build a support network around them.

In June 2018, we began a new programme with Clifford Chance, where residents are offered mock employment interviews at their headquarters. These sessions are designed to identify strengths and development areas during the interview process, and hopefully provide constructive feedback to support each resident’s future employment journeys.

We spoke to Frimpong, who was one of the first residents to get involved in this initiative.

Frimpong has been living at Caritas Anchor House for six months, with one of his main goals to get back into employment. Having previously worked as a lecturer at a university for over six years, Frimpong is looking for a role to suit his skillset and where he can progress.

After applying for a Deputy Manager role at a local company, Frimpong was chuffed to get be invited for interview but disappointed when he did not receive the job. Wondering where he had gone wrong, Frimpong was given the opportunity to take part in a mock interview at Clifford Chance.

Frimpong took with him the job description for the Deputy Manager role, and with support, he worked alongside the interviewers to identify and confidently share his skills and experiences, and improve his interview techniques overall.

“I really enjoyed the mock interview at Clifford Chance and I learnt a lot. They taught me even small things, like the right length of tie, and how important it is to ask your own questions towards the end of the interview. I am optimistic about my next interview, and am looking forward to putting my new skills to good use!”

-Frimpong, current resident at Caritas Anchor House

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