BEAM has been announced as a winner of the 2018 London Homelessness Awards. They have set up an innovative service using crowdfunding to support homeless and ex homeless people access training. We asked two of the members to explain what the service has done for them.
Tony, 47, from London.
I discovered Beam by chance when I was struggling financially. I had passed my level two Electrical Installation course with the help of a loan from a friend. I needed level 3 and was a bit nervous that I couldn’t find the money.
My support worker, Sarah, from Kairos suggested Beam. I had not heard of them and was a bit apprehensive. To be honest I wasn’t sure the funds could be raised. I was very sceptical. After all, why would people donate to me given my history?
Then it went live and I was shocked. Beam created a profile for me – setting out my story and my journey. Within six weeks I was fully funded. £4378! This covered the training fees and other things I needed such as an ID card and some textbooks.
135 different people supported me – and their positive supportive comments were as important as the cash!
I completed level 3 and can now start an apprenticeship. So in a year I will be fully qualified.
I am now off benefits and paying my own rent.
I’d recommend Beam. There are driven people out there and they need help and direction. I’d recommend it to anyone.
I was a heroin and crack abuser for 18 years. In 2008 I was approached by Thamesreach. After a year I got to trust the worker and booked into B&B. Then hostels and supported housing.
I was then a volunteer for Thamesreach, which led onto an apprenticeship with them. I did activities work and really enjoyed it, but wanted to get into the caring side of things. St Mungo’s suggested I do a course to help my career and told me about BEAM.
Seb at BEAM was great and made me feel at ease. Like many people in my position, I still feel guilty and can feel judged. Seb was very supportive and helped me to think of it in a different way. We set up the fundraising page and soon lots of colleagues funded me online. We raised the money very quickly – to be honest I was very surprised. !
What was great was that every time someone made a donation, they posted an encouraging comment. The comments made me feel very special and really helped; people wrote lovely comments and also donated their hard earned money.
I now work for the Peter Bedford Trust as a Recovery Coach Assistant. Without BEAM there is no way I would have raised the money. They are the only organisation that do things like this. We feel guilty asking for help from people because of our past. I really wanted to do this course and if it wasn’t for BEAM I couldn’t do the course.
For more information about Beam go to https://wearebeam.org/. The order of the top three and the cash prizes for the London Homelessness Awards will be announced by the Deputy Mayor at a special ceremony on October 18th. For more information go to www.lhawards.org.uk