Shannon was one of the first beneficiaries of our new Opportunities Fund. This is a pot of money that can be used for ad hoc purchases to help young people with their specific need.

Shannon became homeless when her mum died. She was estranged from her father, and while other family and friends were able to help in the short term, none were able to offer her a permanent, stable place to live.

Step by Step first supported Shannon with our rent deposit scheme. This lent her the funds she needed to move into a shared house.

However, Shannon experienced very poor mental health. This culminated in a serious crisis and she had to give up work as a result.

Eventually, she felt ready to go back into employment, but faced another barrier – she couldn’t afford to go back to work. It would be a month before her first salary payment and in the interim she would have no money for essentials, such as food and travel.

Step by Step supported her once more, this time with the new Opportunities Fund.

Kate Martins, Senior Support Worker for our Launch advice service, remembers taking Shannon’s call. “You could feel it down the phone – the panic, the desperation, not knowing what to do. She had hit rock bottom.”

This is where the Opportunities Fund came in. Step by Step Support Workers can access the fund for any ad hoc purchase they need to directly benefit a young person. In this case, it paid for a supermarket gift card for Shannon to buy groceries, smart clothes for her new job, and a travel card so she could actually get to work.

Shannon had come so far on her journey back to employment – she just needed a bit of additional help to overcome the final hurdle. The Opportunities Fund provided essentials we all take for granted, reinstating Shannon’s dignity and giving her the chance to move on with her life.

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