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A young Brighton resident who faced the possibility of homelessness is following the career of his dreams and preparing to live independently, after staying in a local supported housing service.

Harvey life story photo

Harvey Saunders, 20, has been living at Sanctuary Supported Living’s (SSL) Brighton and Hove Foyer since March 2016 after a falling out in the family led to him and his sister leaving their parents’ home, resulting in him sleeping in his aunt’s front room for several months.

Having been referred to the Foyer by the YMCA, Harvey drew up a personalised support plan with staff to help him build the skills he needs to live independently. By working through the plan Harvey has received assistance in finding work and has taken part in the Foyer’s employment project: Launch Pad.

The project, conducted in partnership with City College Brighton and Hove, delivered a series of workshops providing guidance on accessing training, finding employment and other practical realities of supporting himself.

Harvey was one of the earliest successes of the project, going on to find seasonal work doing landscape gardening at Brighton & Hove cemeteries.

He has since turned his attention to his career goal of working in construction and will be studying for the Construction Skills Certification Scheme card from March, the first step to a career in the sector.

I’d heard of the Foyer from friends who had stayed here in the past and they talked about how it had helped them; it’s not at all how I pictured supported housing. It is clean, staff are friendly and approachable and the atmosphere has been really good for motivating me to do the best I can.

Harvey Saunders, Resident

“The Launch Pad, in particular, was great for giving me the confidence to put myself out there and start getting work.”

When Harvey first moved into the Foyer he was living with ADHD and Tourettes, which resulted in nervous tics aggravated by anxiety.

He also needed help with personal living skills including budgeting, managing bills and using the laundry room; all things he previously had little to no experience of.

Now he has not only addressed those skills but is able to better manage his tics and is preparing for a moving-on workshop with the aim of shortly finding his own accommodation.

His SSL key worker, Gemma Ryder, said: “Since Harvey first arrived, he’s improved leaps and bounds and has gone from someone who was shy and reserved to someone who has no hesitation in chatting to others and putting himself out there to pursue their goals.”

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