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The London Homelessness Awards 2020 open on 27th April. 

With a prize find of £60,000 the awards seek to recognise and reward innovation and good practice throughout the sector.

Beam were the winners of the 2018 London Homelessness Awards. The crowdfunding platform works with charities and local authorities to provide job training and essential support for the homeless.  Members of the public can donate to specific individuals or give to the overall fund to be spread evenly among the homeless people who are part of the platform.  We asked them to tell us how the work they did was helping vulnerable people, especially with the current public health challenges we face.

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Giulia’s story:

Originally from Eritrea in East Africa, Giulia was sent to live with relatives in Italy at the age of 10. Her parents wanted her to have better opportunities in life, but the reality was quite different. In Italy, she didn’t get a chance to go to a normal school and as a result, she couldn’t get a good job because she lacked a basic education.

Giulia was then sent to Canada to stay with different relatives but she was pushed into doing things she wasn’t comfortable with. She refused to do them and was kicked out. She ended up homeless and decided to seek the help of a friend she knew in London. She stayed on his couch for a few weeks, but that didn’t work out either. Since then, she’s moved again and she’s staying on someone else’s couch now.

Earlier this year, Giulia was referred to Beam.org, a social enterprise that helps get homeless people back on their feet through skills training.

A couple of weeks ago, Giulia started working at her local Asda supermarket as a retail assistant – an incredibly important role during this very busy time. Her future is looking much brighter!

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Monique’s story:

Monique became homeless last year after being kicked out of her family home. Since then, she’s been sofa surfing on different friends’ couches.

Last year, her local council referred her to Beam.org, which funds job training for homeless people. Beam helped her raise £3,504 to train as a beauty therapist. However, just as Coronavirus hit and salons were being shut, she found herself unable to secure work in that field.

Monique still wanted to do something rewarding and to help others in need, so her case worker at Beam suggested looking at the social care sector, given the huge surge in demand.  After applying for multiple roles, she recently started as a support worker at a care home in Luton, caring for disabled adults. Her first week has gone really well and she’s looking forward to moving into her own place.

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For more information about Beam please go to www.beam.org.

For more information about the 2020 London Homelessness Awards please go to www.lhawards.org.uk