Meet Michael – project worker on new Settle and Thrive project for formerly homeless people

We’re happy to introduce a new member of our team, Michael Orji, who embarks on a brand new role (and project!) helping newly-housed, former homeless people and rough sleepers to settle and thrive in Coventry.

Michael’s role as Settle and Thrive project worker sees him bringing Grapevine’s #StrengtheningPeople ethos of uncovering people’s passions and talents first to help create natural networks of community support.

Michael Orji in a still image from his video interview. Michael is a black man with short black hair and a beard wearing a pink and blue patterned shirt. He sits in an office at Grapevine.
Michael Orji, Settle and Thrive project worker.

Networks that strengthen, bring opportunity and help people take charge of their lives.

As Michael says in his interview, “I’m going to be engaging their skill set, their dreams, figuring out how to help them become a better version of themselves. Because some will have lost hope.

“I want to help them realise they have more to give because everybody really does. I am excited.”

The Settle and Thrive project, funded by Coventry City Council, aims to help people go beyond simply surviving – becoming happier as a human being with the joy, purpose, agency and optimism to retain their new tenancy and go on to thrive.

Watch Michael’s video interview below.

Here is a text version of Michael’s interview for people who prefer to read it this way. A big thank you to Michael for taking the time to answer our questions!

Contact Michael by email at

What were you doing before you joined Grapevine?

Before joining Grapevine, I was working as a lecturer at WCG in Rugby. In this role, I developed and delivered course materials, guided students through their academic journey and provided support to help them achieve their educational goals. This position honed my skills in communication, mentorship and curriculum development.

Prior to that, I worked as a support worker for Age UK, where I was involved in home care and worked at their dementia day centre. In this capacity, I provided essential care and support to elderly individuals, particularly those with dementia. My responsibilities included assisting with daily living activities, offering companionship, and creating a safe and supportive environment for the clients. These experiences gave me valuable insights into the needs of vulnerable populations and the importance of compassionate care.

What other experiences (professionally and personally) will help you with your new role?

My professional experiences as a lecturer and a support worker have equipped me with a diverse skill set that is highly relevant to my new role. Teaching has refined my ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively, while my work with Age UK has given me hands-on experience in caregiving and understanding the unique needs of those requiring support.

On a personal level, having a younger brother with tuberous sclerosis has profoundly influenced me. He has been greatly assisted by a charity that helped him achieve a stable life and develop skills for greater independence. Witnessing the positive impact on his life and our family’s well-being has been incredibly inspiring. This personal experience has fuelled my passion for helping others find stability and fulfilment, driving me to make a meaningful difference in their lives.

Why do you do work like this, strengthening people / working for a charity? What is your ‘why’?

My motivation stems from witnessing the transformative impact a charity had on my brother’s life. This experience not only improved his independence but also provided our family with much-needed respite and improved relationships. The profound change that this support brought to my brother and our family inspired me to pursue work where I can have a similar impact on others. I am driven by the desire to bring about positive changes in the lives of those who are struggling, helping them find stability, develop their skills, and achieve their dreams. Knowing that I can contribute to someone’s journey towards a better life is what fuels my passion for this work.

What are you most looking forward to about the role?

I am most looking forward to making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people I work with through the Settle and Thrive project. This project aims to help former rough sleepers find their place in the community by engaging their dreams and skillsets, ensuring they stay off the streets for good. I am excited to see the positive changes and successes of the individuals I will be supporting. Being able to help them build a stable and fulfilling life, much like the support my brother received, is something I am deeply committed to. I am determined to leave people better than I found them, and I look forward to the rewarding experiences this role will bring.

Is there a fun / fascinating fact or skill you’d like to share with us?

While my professional background and personal experiences have shaped my passion for charity work, a fun fact about me is that I have a knack for creative problem-solving. Whether it’s finding innovative ways to teach complex concepts or coming up with unique activities to engage individuals, I enjoy thinking outside the box to make a positive impact. This creativity not only makes my work more effective but also adds a layer of enjoyment and fulfilment to my daily tasks. I also play football and badminton.