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ChariTEA Stories: End Youth Homelessness

We choose a new ChariTEA every quarter which is close to our hearts and nominated by one of our Teabirds, they then choose a tea blend that reflects them or what they support and we donate the profits of the blend to their wonderful cause!

This quarter (October 2021 to December 2021) our chosen ChariTEA is End Youth Homelessness and they have chosen Mocha Chai as the blend to help raise funds for them. EYH is a national movement of 11 member charities that have joined forces to tackle youth homelessness together. EYH charities help more than 30,000 young people a year by providing a home, helping them secure jobs and start independent futures. Each EYH charity works in its own way to meet the needs of local young people; all sharing a belief in giving homeless young people the opportunity to turn their lives around; build high aspirations and move on to successful and independent lives.

By helping young people out of homelessness today, we can stop them becoming the rough sleepers of tomorrow and break the cycle of homelessness for good.

EYH help young people in so many different ways, we are thrilled to share some of their amazing stories.

Jake's Story

Jake’s love of hairdressing first began when he was at school: “I used to have long hair so my mum used to braid my hair. With the skills she taught me, I used to braid girls’ hair at school for them at lunch and break time.”

Once he was in college, Jake realised he could turn that passion into a career – so he decided to start an apprenticeship. But before he could start, Jake made the decision to open up about his sexuality to his mum: “I came to the realisation that being truthful is important and I would rather be honest, so I sat my mum down and told her,” he recalls. “She didn’t agree with my choices and didn’t trust me after that. We would just clash all the time. Often, I would sofa surf with friends just to avoid the arguments.”

The council moved Jake into temporary accommodation, but he found it difficult to find permanent accommodation and begin his apprenticeship without support. That was until he moved into Centrepoint accommodation and accessed support with his finances, health and life skills. 

Jake was able to access EYH's Bursary scheme which offers financial support to young people in education, training or employment. This meant that Jake was able to afford some of the hairdressing equipment that was essential to progress in his apprenticeship: “I absolutely love my equipment. I can’t stop using it and practising on the doll’s hair!” He enthuses, thrilled that these tools allow him to take his future seriously. “There’s no way I could have afforded this equipment on my own and it’s essential for my career progression.”

Since then, Jake’s been flourishing in both his professional and personal life, rebuilding his relationship with his mum, and setting clear career goals: “I’d like to work at a salon and maybe go for my Level 2 and 3. I want to be a well-rounded hairstylist and be able to do everything. My dream goal is to be a celebrity hairstylist.”

Imani's Story

Imani had an unstable childhood – with much time in and out of the care system and homelessness.  Despite these challenging years, Imani was keen to gain independence for herself. She wanted to secure employment so that she could put the years of uncertainty behind her. 

Imani had hopes of a career in the youth work sector – she wanted more than anything to support young people with challenging lives like her own. While she had successfully worked in several roles since leaving college, Imani was struggling to make the transition into youth work and did not know where to start.  

1625 Independent People in Bristol supported Imani to take the first steps towards her dream. She got help with job applications, advise on how on to bring out the best of herself and increase her chances of success. Staff also helped her with intensive sessions helping Imani to prepare for interviews, which included mock interview sessions and constructive feedback. 

Shortly after, Imani was invited to interview for a youth worker role, and was delighted when she got the call offering her the job. She will start her trainee youth worker role this year. Imani feels overjoyed about her new role and the future that lies ahead. 

Tyler's Story

When Tyler presented to his local EYH charity, Step by Step, he had fled his mother’s house as their relationship had become too strained and he felt too unsafe to stay. Tyler had resorted to sleeping on his Nan’s sofa in her warden assisted living for people 65 and over. It was just at this time when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK and lockdown was introduced. Tyler was breaking the rules by staying with his Nan and he was putting other residents at risk of contracting the virus, but since it was either that or the streets, he felt he had no choice.

Support Workers at Step by Step put him forward for their short-term Supported Lodgings scheme. Tyler was placed with a host in a matter of days and had a successful placement; he built a positive relationship with his host and respected the lockdown restrictions. 

Tyler had demonstrated a good level of independence and maturity during his placement and as a result, when it came to an end, he was offered a Supported Independence Placement at the charity.

Tragically, Tyler’s Nan passed away during this time. She was his primary support network, and he needed a lot of emotional support to navigate this difficult time. Tyler engaged well with his weekly support sessions and made good use of the wellbeing support available to him.

Since then, Tyler has continued to engage with support from his EYH charity. He recently moved into independent accommodation with support for the rent deposit from EYH’s Housing Fund. After lots of hard work and dedication to turn his life around, this deposit has facilitated his final step into secure accommodation in the private rental sector. 

Tyler is successfully managing his own tenancy and is about to start Construction Skills training.

Amira's Story

Amira approached her local EYH charity St Basils after her family relations broke down  to the extent where she had to leave home. The charity helped Amira to get back on track and gain independence, first by supplying her with  accommodation, and then by helping her gain work experience and a bursary to cover the associated costs. 

The charity helped Amira into a self-contained property, where staff were able to work with her to develop independent living skills. Shortly after, the charity’s job coaches worked with Amira to help her realise her hopes and dreams.  Amira wanted to go to university to study Interior Design, so her jobs coach arranged a 2-week placement at a local design company. 

Amira did not have the money to pay for travel or work clothing, so she applied for the EYH Bursary Scheme, which covered the costs. 

Amira said: "My jobs coach suggested that I make a bursary application to cover the cost of travel, lunch, new clothes and comfortable shoes. I would not have been able to do this if it wasn’t for the grant. Once I received the money, I was able to buy a train pass and I was able to get there a lot faster.”  

Amira found the work placement insightful and has now been offered a place at University to complete a Degree in Interior Design. She is feeling positive about her future and is very excited to continue her journey.

How can you help?

The easiest way to support EYH is to buy their chosen blend Mocha Chai but there are lots of other things you can do to help them out. You can help spread the word by sharing posts in social media, donate supplies to your local charity, organise your own fundraiser or donate via our Just Giving Page.

Many of our stores are getting involved in EYH's Sleep Out and we’re asking our TEAm members & our communiTEA to swap their bed for somewhere new for the night. That could be a sofa, under the dining room table, your garden, your balcony, your office car park (with permission) – the choice is yours, you can find out more and how to get involved here.

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