Crowdfunding community helping homeless people in Southwark into work wins top award

Staff Reporter (10 December, 2018)

'We believe that they can go on to even greater things and replicate the model in other areas'


A London-based crowdfunding campaign helping homeless people get off the streets and into work has won first place and £30,000 at the London Homelessness Awards, writes Susie Kellie…

Launched in September 2017, Beam began with a simple model: to create a hub that would allow people to make donations to fund training for homeless people looking to get back into employment.

Now, there are more than 2,000 people signed up and helping homeless people.

Currently, 28 members – ex-homeless people supported by Beam – are in training.

Fourteen members successfully passed their training have gone on to work in careers of their choice.

The crowdfunding project won first place at the 2018 Homelessness Awards held in October, including a cash prize of £30,000.

The Homelessness Awards – set up in 1999 – recognise organisations that use innovation, hard work and projects to tackle homelessness.

Chair of the judging panel, Simon Dow, from the London Housing Foundation, said: “The judges were very positive about all of our finalists but in the end felt that Beam had the edge on taking a simple idea and through the use of technology and new media producing a modern and relevant way of connecting potential funders to individuals seeking help.

“We believe that they can go on to even greater things and replicate the model in other areas.”

One in ten of the people whose training is funded by beam live in Southwark, and the project worked closely with charities St. Mungos in Camberwell and Thames Reach in Peckham to find people who would benefit with the scheme.

Joe – homeless for over a decade – was referred by Thames Reach.

Within five days of Joe’s referral he had received help from nineteen supporters and managed to raise £1,132 which went towards funding his training.

The support provided financial stability for Joe until he moved into full-time employment as a crane rigger on the Northern Line extension.

Alex Stephany, Beam Founder and CEO said, “[The money] would allow us to grow our frontline team, allowing more individuals facing homelessness to crowd fund the highest quality training and reach their full potential through rewarding work.”

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