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Fusion21 Foundation funding helps ex-offender Steven to boost employability skills

Fusion21 Foundation has donated £10,000 to charity Real Change Wigan & Leigh, we’re helping rough sleepers to change their lives, with things like a deposit for a home, enrolment on a training course or buying new clothes for a job interview.

Meet Steven

Steven was rough sleeping before moving into the Railway Road Project in Leigh, which is run by Real Change partner and Fusion21 member Riverside. Before that he’d been in jail, he wanted to achieve his aim of a drug free lifestyle and maintaining the relationship with his daughter who is heart and soul.

Riverside linked Steven up to local support agencies to help him with some of the things he was working on, and he began to think more about some of the things he’d like to do with his future.

While in prison, he’d started a qualification in Counsellingand learnt a lot about the world of recovery and substance misuse. However, he’d been unable to complete the course before being released so had never qualified. As soon as he moved into Railway Road and had a stable place to live, he contacted the organisations providing the course so he could complete it. They arranged for him to do so in the community and sent out a pack to support him doing so.

The staff at Railway Road were so impressed with the initiative and appetite he showed for turning his aspirations into reality, but there was a problem: the course required a computer and Steven didn’t have one. Together they found a second hand laptop available for only £100, but Steven had been in prison, rough sleeping and was out of work – he didn’t have a spare £100 to buy a computer.

Thanks to donations to the Real Change fund, the staff at Riverside did have somewhere to turn. With just a £100 grant, Real Change was able to help Steven overcome this barrier, enabling him to complete his assignments, use local wifi hotspots to do research, and complete his education. Donations are helping Steven gain qualifications, become more employable, but also harness his energy and determination. When you are homeless it is easy to feel hopeless, so being there to lend a hand at a crucial time carries a price well beyond the £100 for a bit of technology.