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Jade is the first person to receive a grant from the Eight Miles Away fund, which aims to break the cycle of homelessness for young people living in Brighton.

Resident, Jade, stands by a large photograph of Brighton Pier, hanging on a wall

Started in 2020 by local artist, Tony Mills, the Eight Miles Away project centred around a series of eight paintings, each featuring a homeless person in different scenes of Brighton, which were exhibited and then sold by silent auction. Tony was inspired to support the city’s homeless with his work by an elderly man who slept in the bus shelter opposite his home on the seafront.

His project attracted attention from all over the world and, with the addition of sales of prints online, the paintings raised more than £23,000 which has gone directly to Sanctuary Supported Living’s Brighton and Hover Foyer, a supported housing service which provides accommodation and support for homeless and vulnerable young people aged 16 to 25.

20-year-old Jade arrived at the service in late 2020 in difficult circumstances. She had fled a volatile living situation and was really struggling with her mental health. She’d managed to remain in work throughout lockdown but focusing had proved difficult, particularly when her living situation became unsafe. 

The specialist team at Brighton & Hove Foyer immediately began working alongside her to rebuild her confidence and self-esteem, as well as the skills she needed to move on with her life and to live independently. 

Although she’d been working in recruitment, Jade had always had a keen interest in nail artistry and expressed that she hoped to start her own business one day. She knew she had the artistic flair and ambition but could not afford to obtain the necessary qualifications to pursue her dream. 

The team at the Foyer suggested that she should make an application to the Eight Miles Away fund which included a detailed personal statement and budget plan, followed by a challenging video interview with senior staff.

Jade’s determination and aspirations absolutely shone through in her interview as she had already saved up most of the cost of the nail course herself and only needed to cover the last £800.

The team felt she was an ideal candidate to benefit from the fund and were delighted to grant her the money, meaning she can begin the course almost immediately.

It has also been agreed that when she’s ready to move on, which could be as soon as in September, the fund will also cover her deposit and first month’s rent when she has found a flat or house share.

When Jade does leave the foyer, the team, including her support worker Sahara, will be keeping in regular touch with her to provide a friendly ear if needed. She will also have access to additional funds should she need them for a period of up to two years and a maximum of almost £4,000.

So many young people have dreams and ambitions – they just need that boost and the opportunity to see them come to fruition. 

Jan Weston-Shaw, Deputy Local Service Manager

Once qualified, Jade hopes to start up her nail business and secure a stable income for her long-term future – none of which would have been possible without the sale of the Eight Miles Away paintings and prints.

Artist Tony Mills recently popped into Brighton & Hove Foyer for a chat with the team and met Jade who told him, quite simply; “Don’t worry – we will make you proud.”

Jan Weston-Shaw, Deputy Local Service Manager at Brighton and Hove Foyer, said: “The fact that despite everything she’s been through, Jade has already managed to save up much of the funds she needs to follow her dream, is testament to her determination and incredible work ethic.

It has been a privilege getting to know her since she arrived at Brighton & Hove Foyer and when she is ready to move on, we know just how much she has that drive to succeed. So many young people have dreams and ambitions – they just need that boost and the opportunity to see them come to fruition. That’s the very real impact that the Eight Miles Away project will have.”

For more information about Sanctuary Supported Living’s services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, see our latest news or find a service near you.

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