We want to end youth homelessness and we’re tackling the problem locally by providing a home and support to over 100 vulnerable young people in Norfolk and Suffolk every night. We give them a stable home and the skills they need so they can leave us and forge an independent life.
Following a breakdown in family relationships, Edward found himself in a difficult situation residing in a B&B, which had few facilities other than a bed. This was untenable and he decided to leave, but with nowhere else to go he found himself on the streets for a few days, which was very hard. Thankfully, he was given the details of one of our accommodation centres for young people in Norfolk and was offered a room.
Edward first met with Sharon, The Benjamin Foundation’s Job Coach in June 2017. At this time, he was not in education, employment or training and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. Together, they looked at various options in terms of employment, college and volunteering, but nothing really sparked his interest. After explaining that he had previously gained a Level 2 qualification in Engineering and would quite like to explore options of an apprenticeship in this field, Edward worked with the Job Coach to look into this further. Unfortunately there was nothing really available in the local area which he felt was suitable to apply for.
At his next meetings with the Job Coach, Edward expressed a wish to apply for his SIA Door Security Licence. He would need photographic ID before he could register for this particular course, therefore Sharon, supported by the End Youth Homelessness bursary fund, helped him apply for his provisional licence. The licence took a couple of months to be organised but as soon as it arrived, Edward made an appointment to meet with Sharon to move things forward.
The next big step was attending a First Aid course. Edward has anxiety linked to his Autism, which means that he finds mixing with new people incredibly challenging. However, he overcame this on the day and fully engaged with the course.
In July 2018, Edward attended the SIA course, funded by a bursary through Eversheds Sutherland, and passed with flying colours. He then worked with the Job Coach to apply for his personal licence, which would enable him to work as a Security Guard. This was also funded by the Eversheds Sutherland bursary. This was not without its challenges due to needing certain paperwork and identification, however, this did not stop the Job Coach; she approached the Department for Work and Pensions and they agreed to write a supporting letter to enable Edward to successfully obtain his personal licence.
A huge, positive step forward was taken when Edward signed up with a Security agency and was offered part time hours. This work really suited Edward and he was soon asked to sign up for a full time post.
He is now really enjoying this work and spends time away at festivals, football matches and concerts.
The Job Coach has seen Edward thrive over the last 18 months. He has gone from a young man who would walk around with his head down and not making eye contact, to a confident young man, whose head is held high and is happy to have a conversation with anyone. He is now waiting to move onto independent living and will continue with his employment.
He is grateful for the opportunities which have been offered to him through the Transforming Futures programme and the support that the Job Coach has given him. Edward says:
“This is one of the best things that has happened to me; it has changed my life for the better. It has broadened my horizons.”
For more information about the support our Job Coach offers to young people, click here.
A thoroughly enjoyable event that I would love to return to next year.