Partnership to support homeless residents marks one year in Thurrock

16 December 2022

A ground-breaking pilot scheme supporting homeless residents and those in temporary accommodation back into work has marked one year helping vulnerable people in Thurrock.

In December 2021, Thurrock Council launched the project with online crowdfunding platform Beam to help homeless residents access training and support, ensuring they can leave homelessness for good by securing stable jobs. So far:

  • more than 50 residents have been referred to Beam
  • 15 of those residents – from rough sleepers to those living in temporary accommodation – have launched their crowdfunding campaign
  • 4 residents have started paid work
  • 9 residents are currently looking for jobs

Cllr Luke Spillman, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "I am delighted to hear about the results of this pioneering scheme so far.

"One resident, Martin, who previously struggled with his mental health, was supported by several organisations to access help and stable accommodation. Since then, Beam has helped him to rebuild his confidence with job-hunting and practising interview skills. Martin started a new full-time role in September.

"We are determined to provide help for our borough’s most vulnerable residents by exploring innovative solutions to ensuring people in Thurrock can look forward to a brighter future. This collaborative partnership with Beam is one such solution and we are looking forward to seeing what the remaining 6 months of the scheme will bring."

Deborah, a resident who has benefited from the scheme, said: "A year ago I was pregnant, separated from my long-term boyfriend, and practically homeless with shattered dreams. Earlier this year, the council housed me and my now 7 month-old baby girl and introduced me to the Beam team.

"Within a few weeks I had spoken with my case worker several times and I was instantly empowered and equipped with a laptop, a phone, work clothes and funding from the most incredible sponsors I have ever heard of.

"Beam set me up with several work interviews and it motivated me to continue my job search on my own. When I was told that there were funds raised for me to do a course I almost cried.

"Beam and I are now looking into a coding course with City, University of London. When I pass, I will have better prospects at getting a higher paid role in tech and I will be able to provide for my daughter and move into my own home."

Seb Barker, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Beam, said: "Beam's technology is bringing local communities closer to homeless people like Deborah, who are ready and willing to start work but face a lot of barriers. It's amazing to see all the donations and messages of support on Deborah's Beam profile, which enabled her to start work and provide for her daughter.

"By partnering with Beam, Thurrock Council is investing in new and innovative ways to tackle homelessness, and we're excited to support many more disadvantaged people in Thurrock to access the support they need to leave homelessness for good."

Individuals in the pilot scheme have their own fundraising page on Beam's website and can crowdfund the cost of items that can be a financial obstacle to starting work. The page includes their story and an itemised budget breakdown of how much they need to raise, which the public can donate to and leave a message of support. 90% of donations are split between participants, so everyone reaches their target within an average of 16 days.

Thurrock residents who are fundraising include Beauty, who wants to be a carer, and Samantha, who wants to be a nursery assistant. Beauty and Samantha's names have been changed to protect their identity.