Alek’s Story

Alek* is a Sudanese refugee who came to the UK in 2019. They fled Sudan after losing both parents and being separated from their sister. Alek arrived in the UK alone and was experiencing homelessness.

Llamau received funding from Give DIFFerently to support Alek by funding driving lessons.

Alek is studying to become a mechanic and therefore driving lessons will be vital in his chosen career path. Alek doesn’t have any family support and therefore, without this grant, his chances of gaining secure employment would be significantly reduced.

Alek enjoys getting out in nature, especially to the beach, and the ability to drive would allow him to do this more often which would significantly improve his mental health.

Thanks to your support, Alek is moving away from homelessness for good.

*alternative names have been used to protect their identity

Yasser’s Story

Yasser became homeless when he was given a surprise eviction notice to leave his home immediately in February 2019. He left with just the clothes on his back and slept between friends’ houses and the streets of Cardiff for the next six months, which he describes as the worst time of his life.

During these months, he faced a succession of obstacles. With no secure place, important documents were lost, and his benefits were sanctioned.

Yasser said: “This ruined my life, and it was really painful until I got to the YMCA. But things are starting to get better now with the help of the people at the service.”

Yasser is taking part in the Aspire program at the centre which is a four-week training program to help people experiencing homelessness get back into employment. He is also one of the many homeless people in Cardiff benefiting from the generosity of local businesses through Cardiff’s Homeless Charter.

“The course has been very useful to help me with my CV, job applications and get things like a nice haircut through Give DIFFerently before my interview.”

Having just completed the programme and feeling confident with his new haircut from Jones the Barber, Yasser went for an interview at Royal Mail for a Christmas casual job which went well, but he was unable to take the position because he doesn’t have a passport.

Until he can earn enough money to buy one, he won’t be able to accept any of the job offers he is being given. But with a degree in Business and IT and plans to undertake an MA in Business Studies at the Open University early next year, Yasser is dedicated and determined to get back in to work so that he can “get [his] life back, get a place to live and just do normal things that people do.”

Give DIFFerently and the charter were set up in response to local businesses number one reported concern in Cardiff city centre – homelessness.

Cardiff’s Homeless Charter now allows businesses to play a part in the solution with many already offering pledges including free haircuts, gig tickets, workshops and work experience. These pledges will support people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to gain new skills and experiences that will help them on their journey away from homelessness.

Your donations and pledges to the Give DIFFerenly fund can help to break down barriers for people experiencing homelessness. You can donate £3 by texting GIVDIFF5 to 70331.

Tom’s story

Tom* became homeless in 2014 following a breakdown in his relationship with his partner. In September 2018, he was awarded our top grant of £750 to buy the necessary equipment to help him start up a business again.

Before becoming homeless Tom operated a well-established construction and building company that he had built from the ground up.

A change in personal circumstance and relationship breakdowns had a detrimental effect on his general health and wellbeing.

With his self-esteem at an all-time low, his business broke down and he found himself in need of relying on a sickness benefit and frontline homeless services to support himself.

He moved into a hostel and then onto Huggard Supported Housing where he was told about the Give DIFFerently fund.

The grant has helped Tom to purchase equipment to help start up his business in the local community.

This will help him to move away from relying on benefits and become more financially independent. Rebuilding his business has given him a great sense of purpose and he hopes to give back to the community by hiring people from the local area.

*name has been changed