Advertisement
Film

James Bowen backs job training platform for homeless people

Bob the Cat’s owner becomes an ambassador for a new crowdfunding project supporting people with a plan to get off the streets

James Bowen, the ex-Big Issue vendor turned bestselling author of A Street Cat Named Bob, has backed a new project aimed at helping homeless people off the streets and into work.

Bowen has become an ambassador for Beam, a platform supporting people who believe they have a particular plan to work themselves out of their crisis.

The model sees members referred through homelessness charities – including St Mungo’s and Thames Reach – then assisted through a crowdfunding exercise to gain potentially life-changing skills and employment training.

“Beam is a great way to help these people to get back on their feet and actually train in something they want to do,” said Bowen.

The author and his beloved cat Bob – stars of a recent movie adaptation of the million-selling book – recently met Beam’s first member Tony, an aspiring electrician living in a hostel in south east London.

In less than a month, Tony has successfully funded his campaign to gain training and qualifications as a specialist tradesman – raising £4,378 from 136 supporters.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Thanks to Beam, I’m now training to become a fully-qualified electrician

“When I first heard about Beam I thought, ‘Why would anyone want to help me out?’,” recalled Tony (pictured above, left).

“I just couldn’t believe it when the money started coming in. Then, when I read the messages from my supporters, I just didn’t have words. Thanks to Beam, I’m now training to become a fully-qualified electrician.”

Backed by innovation funding from the Mayor of London and the innovation foundation Nesta, the team behind Beam are confident they can help more people unlock their potential and find career success.

“I believe people want to help but feel powerless,” says founder Alex Stephany (pictured above, far left).

“My question was, ‘How can I take a small amount of money but make the smartest possible investment in someone’s future, helping them out of homelessness for good?’ At Beam, we believe it’s by working together to crowdfund new skills and employment training.”

James Murray, deputy mayor for housing and residential development, added: “The Mayor of London is pleased to support Beam as an innovative approach that enables Londoners to help directly too.”

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

Recommended for you

Read All
The Muppet Christmas Carol actress Meredith Braun on When Love Is Gone being restored
Festive favourite

The Muppet Christmas Carol actress Meredith Braun on When Love Is Gone being restored

‘We’re making disobedience a virtue’ - Guillermo del Toro on Pinocchio
interview

‘We’re making disobedience a virtue’ - Guillermo del Toro on Pinocchio

Matilda the Musical: Tim Minchin's anarchic lessons for revolting times
interview

Matilda the Musical: Tim Minchin's anarchic lessons for revolting times

Ryan Reynolds: 'The great gift about getting older is you become more comfortable with sucking'
Interview

Ryan Reynolds: 'The great gift about getting older is you become more comfortable with sucking'

Most Popular

Read All
Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'
1.

Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'

What does Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement mean for me?
2.

What does Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement mean for me?

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways
3.

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways

What to do if you have damp and mould in your home
4.

What to do if you have damp and mould in your home