In 2017 we were delighted to award a grant of over £4000 from the #iwillFund to Encompass Southwest. A charity based out of North Devon, their motivation is to prevent and reduce homelessness, rough sleeping and the impact of poverty by providing advice, information and support services.
To build on an already successful range of services for those experiencing crisis and hardship, they wanted to pay particular attention to young people, by providing an additional service to them, administered by them, in the shape of Homeless Peer Champions.
The #iwill grant saw that Encompass were able to recruit 11 young people as peer champions. Each had experienced homelessness themselves, and possessed the passion and energy to use their experiences to create a short film, hold workshops and create marketing materials for educating other young people about homelessness prevention.
As well as informing young people at schools and youth clubs about the risk, realities and impact of homelessness with an aim to preventing future occurrences of this, the outcome of the programme showed also that the peer champions themselves gained precious confidence and skills which they would be able to use to support future employment.
Thanks to further funding from the #iwillFund, we were able to administer another grant to Encompass in 2018 to continue this great work. Earlier this year they reported that they had gained an additional 7 Homeless Peer Champions and that 7 of the volunteers who supported the project had in fact gone onto paid employment. They tell us that they are engaging young people, some are seeking advice about their particular situations and 4 of them had received full case work, including mediation at home and referrals to external agencies, including domestic violence services.
Stills from the video made by young people showing how they felt before and after working with Encompass Southwest’s Homeless Peer Champion programme, funded by the #iwillFund.
Watch the full video here.
Find out more about Encompass Southwest here.
Find out more about the #iwillFund.
Read more stories here.