Moving FWD films is a youth-led filmmaking project. It enables young homeless people to engage proactively with their own journey from hostels to independent living – and gain practical skills at the same time. Sam designed and piloted the project in May 2015 at North London YMCA, a hostel for 150 young homeless people.
Problem: Too few homeless hostel residents successfully progress to independent living. There is poor awareness about the reality of 'moving on', particularly into the private rented sector, the only option for many.
Solution: A user-led filmmaking project enabling hostel residents to create videos for their peers, and the wider public, about issues and challenges associated with moving on from hostels to independent living.
Impact: Filmmakers engage proactively with challenges of 'moving on', while improving their confidence and gaining practical skills. Other viewers benefit from inspiring and informative videos about routes to independence. The wider public are made more aware of the challenges faced by many young homeless people.
Watch the first video made by residents, Moving On, on the right of this page, or by clicking here.
Click to play 'Moving On'
YMCA SMS is a mobile texting service connecting young homeless people with the advice, services and activities available to them. Sam designed and introduced the project in February 2015 at North London YMCA, a hostel for 150 young homeless people in Hornsey.
Problem: Many homeless hostels face low levels of engagement with the support and activities they offer, often due to limited awareness of what's available.
Solution: An online SMS service allowing the hostel to reach high volumes of young residents via a platform relevant to them – their mobile phones – at minimal cost.
Impact: Significant increase in resident participation in meaningful activities over two month trial period. Following positive feedback from residents the service has now been adopted permanently by the hostel as a key part of their communications strategy.
Move On | a new shared housing model for young homeless people
While working at North London YMCA, a hostel for 150 young homeless people in Hornsey, Sam designed a programme supporting residents to access affordable shared accommodation in London, through the innovative use of ex-student accommodation.
Problem: Young homeless people face an increasingly severe shortage of viable housing options due to London's dearth of social housing and the spiralling costs of private renting. As a result, thousands of young people remain 'stuck' in temporary accommodation, sometimes for many years.
Solution: A new Move On scheme designed through extensive user engagement. The scheme uses under-utilised shared flats in London, with wrap-around support for participants to move into and sustain their new home.
Impact: The outline business plan and support model are being taken forward by North London YMCA for piloting in 2016.
Less than half of people with a disability, health problem or impairment are in work. In July 2014, Sam led a research project for Shaw Trust, the UK's leading disability employment charity, identifying new ways to improve the employment prospects of disabled people across the UK.
Based on extensive data analysis and direct consultation with Shaw Trust's frontline staff and customers, the final report, Stepping Up, highlighted large differences in the employment rates of people with disabilities across different parts of the UK. It called for innovative local solutions to bridge gaps in the employment rate between disabled and non-disabled people.
The report received national coverage, furthering the case for community-based social enterprises to enable more disabled people to lead independent lives.