Liam* had been sofa surfing for a few months, having had to leave his family home to help keep his mum safe, who is high risk of COVID. When he was referred to us by his Advice Worker at another charity supporting young people, Liam had just secured a short-term tenancy in a house share in Norfolk.

Liam was, and still is, employed part time as a Kitchen Porter in a local pub. During the first visit by Juliet* a Tenancy Support Worker with The Benjamin Foundation, they discussed what support Liam felt he needed; along with budgeting. He expressed a wish to enroll on some training courses to enhance his CV, with a view to being able to eventually find a better paying job in a field he felt more passionate about.

With this in mind, Juliet provided Liam with details of a fully funded SIA Security course, currently being carried out online due to the pandemic. The registration required that candidates have valid ID to enroll, however, Liam didn’t have a driver’s licence and his passport had expired. Somewhat disheartened, Liam relayed this to Juliet, but after some communication with the training provider, it was noted that Liam would be able to use his Birth Certificate as ID. Once Liam had obtained this from his parents’ home, we were able to scan and send to the training provider, meaning that Liam was able to enroll on the course and subsequently passed with flying colours.

To ensure this wouldn’t be an issue for any future training courses, Juliet helped Liam apply for his provisional licence, the cost of which was covered by The Benjamin Foundation.

As he was employed in the hospitality sector, he felt he would benefit from an enhanced Food Hygiene certification. Juliet made some enquiries with The Benjamin Foundation Job Coach and was able to arrange for Liam to undertake his Food Hygiene Level 2 qualification, again fully funded by The Benjamin Foundation thanks the End Youth Homelessness Housing Fund.

As Liam now had two additional qualifications, he asked Juliet for help to develop a CV, in readiness to send to prospective employers and provided Juliet with the information necessary to create his CV. The Benjamin Foundation Job Coach had also been proactive and had sent Liam some job vacancies, which he was able to apply for with his new CV.

During the first few weeks of our involvement, Juliet also encouraged Liam to set up a savings account so he could start putting any extra cash to one side, in case of emergencies and ‘rainy days’.

When the second national lockdown was enforced, this had a big effect on Liam’s finances. He was lucky enough to receive some furlough pay but this was less than his wages. Because of the way Universal Credit works, this meant that the following month he had little expendable income. Liam sold one of his push bikes to help finance Christmas presents for his family, but he was still left short. Juliet then arranged for a food parcel and some toiletries for Liam, to see him through the holiday season. As well as this, they also made an application to the Norfolk Assistance Scheme for support and, within a couple of weeks, Liam received £100 into his account, which he put towards food, bills and essentials.

More recently, Liam has enquired about obtaining his CSCS (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme) card to help him apply for labouring jobs. Juliet made some enquiries and the Job Coach was able to provide details of a fully funded course for Liam to access, which he is currently in the process of completing. Once Liam has his CSCS card, this will greatly increase his employment prospects, something he’s very eager to do.

It has now been six months since we began working with Liam, and although he is still getting to grips with budgeting and his finances, it’s a work in progress and he is heading in the right direction. Juliet says:

“I believe that Liam has greatly appreciated our involvement and values the support we’ve been able to offer him, especially as things have been tougher than usual due to the pandemic. Liam, like the rest of us, is looking forward to the return of some normality which for him means returning to work with the possibility of a new job on the horizon.”

*Names have been changed

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Norwich Sleep Out 2018 participant

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