C referred himself to GISDA in November 2016. He was homeless and sofa surfing after a family breakdown meant he could no longer live with his family. He has no contact whatsoever with his family now and so he has no family support. When C first arrived at our hostel he had a drug problem, smoking cannabis every day. He also had a history of offending that included stealing cars and driving without a full licence or insurance. He was consequently fined and lost his provisional licence.
C was very popular at the hostel. He had many friends and he was friendly to every member of staff. He worked as an apprentice plasterer and during the evenings he enjoyed attending cooking sessions. He gained confidence during his stay at the hostel and eventually became ready to move on and live independently. He is very committed at work and he enjoys his apprenticeship course. He works very hard and he works long hours because he’s determined to build a better future for himself.
C always responded well to the support provided by his key worker, turning up to sessions straight after work. C engaged well with his support and was very motivated during his key sessions. These sessions focussed on how to move on, how to budget, how to eat healthy and how to tackle his drug habit – and he is committed to make the changes that are necessary.
With support, C completed a housing options form with evidence of income and ID. In April 2017, only a few months after arriving at the hostel, C secured a tenancy of his own within the area and settled quickly, setting up the utilities with the support of his key worker, and sorting out the painting and decorating himself. He continues to have weekly support sessions with his key worker to help maintain his progress and support him as he transitions to living independently.
Work and ambitions
C works very hard as an apprentice plasterer. He works very long hours, especially over the summer. He also attends college once a week to complete an NVQ. He would like to run his own business one day, and he is determined to reach this goal.
Budgeting and finance
C was not good at managing his money when he first came to us. He now pays his bills on time and completes a weekly income and expenditure sheet to manage finances independently. During his first couple months C was struggling to pay his rent and council tax and was slowly getting into debt. With our support he managed to resolve this, lower his bills, and now he is once again on top of his payments. C is proud of his flat and the work he has done.
Diet and lifestyle
C used to rely on takeaways every night and would rarely eat a healthy meal. During the period he lived in the hostel he gained cooking skills and information about how to maintain a healthy balanced diet. We continue to hold weekly cooking sessions where C experiments, trying new foods and building his confidence in his cooking abilities. C has also learned the importance of cleaning and maintaining his flat on a daily basis, and he also gained basic DIY skills. C is now able successfully to manage his home commitments.
At the beginning, C’s key worker used to make phone calls on his behalf and manage his problems for him. Gradually, C began taking over some of the calls. C is now confident enough to make calls independently. Whenever he has a problem involving, for example, the housing benefit department, he is now able to call them himself.
Grants and financial support
C works very hard on a low apprentice wage of £105 a week and he also attends college once a week. As a result of this, he struggled to furnish his new home. Getting grants to help furnish his new home was a big barrier; he was not eligible for any because he was in work and attending college. As C was not on any qualifying benefits, he received nothing when he moved on from supported living. However, after a lot of asking around, C and his key worker managed to secure some of the basics, and we welcomed him back to the hostel when he needed to do his washing.
With the help of his key worker and the Cefnogi Pobl project team leader, C received a sponsorship of £200 a week for a six month period to set up his new home and support him to work towards his future goals. This has had a phenomenal impact on C’s personal and work life. Without this money and support C would not have been able to buy the things he needed to support his career and live independently. Without this support, he would be facing homelessness again as he would not have been able to keep his tenancy and pay his debts. Had he re-offended, he could have been facing a prison sentence.
C’s driving ban has been lifted and he has recently applied to renew his provisional licence which could not have been possible without the help of the sponsorship. He is now concentrating on his work and his new home; he has gained so much confidence in the past few months. C’s relationship with his girlfriend is stronger because he has more confidence and higher self-esteem.
When asked to write about his support here at GISDA this is what C had to say:
As his key worker I am proud of C, his achievements and the progress he has made to change his life. C has changed from a timid, troubled young boy to becoming an independent, confident young adult with a promising future ahead of him. He has achieved all of this through his hard work, dedication and engagement with the support we were able to offer him.