How homelessness support from Progress Housing Group helped Josh find his dream career

Josh was just 17 years old when he left home on Valentine’s Day 2019. He had nowhere to go and no-one to stay with, but life at home had just become too difficult to stay.

Josh’s family had a history of alcohol abuse, and as the second eldest child of eight siblings, Josh had spent the last few years as a young carer, helping to bring up his younger brothers and sisters.

Josh was close to finishing a two-year Level 3 Business course at Runshaw College (which he would later pass with a triple distinction), but arriving at college that morning with all the belongings he had managed to pack and carry in just two bags, Josh felt very worried about his future and what was going to happen to him.

He managed to open up to his girlfriend, Laura, about the problems at home and why he had decided to leave. Laura and her parents kindly let Josh stay at their house for a week and helped Josh find a social worker who would support him to find more permanent living accommodation.

Josh was eventually referred by the council to Parker House, our purpose-built housing scheme in Chorley for young people aged 16 to 25 who are experiencing homelessness.
Parker House has eight rooms available with on-site security and support from Progress Housing Group staff during working hours. Tenants are supported throughout their stay so that when they leave, they can live independently and maintain their tenancy.

The support offered includes:

  • Help with managing finances and benefit claims
  • Assistance with domestic and life skills
  • Help to find a job or with further education
  • Assistance gaining access to other services
  • Preparation for permanent housing
  • Help and support with personal issues.

Josh has now been at Parker House for just over one year and hasn’t looked back. With support from Progress Housing Group Housing Support Assistant Christian, he is now thriving in a new career as a Teaching Assistant.

Josh told us, “When I had completed my Level 3 course at Runshaw College and started to settle into life living independently at Parker House, I had time over the summer to think about what I might want to do as a career and what I wanted out of life. I wanted to be able to use my experience of helping care for my siblings and started to think that maybe I could go into teaching. With support from his Nan and his girlfriend, as well as Christian at Parker House, Josh found an apprenticeship vacancy as a teaching assistant and before and after-school playworker at a nearby primary school in Darwen.

Josh adds, “The interview was with the Head Teacher of the school, and it went well. I am partway through my apprenticeship now, teaching children in key stage one, and will start my Level 3 Teaching Assistant qualification in January 2021. I am then hoping to study for my degree and go into teaching as a career. My managers at work have told me they are pleased with my work and that I have got the potential to be a great teacher, which is nice to hear.

“In terms of the support I’ve received from Progress Housing Group, my support assistant Christian has helped put me on the right path, made time for me, and has been such a good role model. He helped me complete college when I was struggling after leaving my family. And when I have been feeling down, he has always been there to help me. Hillary, a Support Worker, has also helped me, with bidding for properties, and with looking after my tenancy.
At almost 19, Josh can soon start looking for his own flat on Select Move once he feels ready to live entirely independently, and the support from Progress Housing Group has enabled Josh to be able to budget his money in preparation for this.

Josh would like to thank Christian for all the help he has given him over the past year, “I honestly don’t know what I will do without him, he has become a really important figure in my life, and I wouldn’t have anything I have now without the help and support I got from Christian.

Christian said, “Josh should be proud of all that he has accomplished since he moved into his flat at Parker House; he is maintaining his tenancy and doing really well with his apprenticeship. He has not had the easiest of times, but the fact that he has kept working hard and moving forward is a testament to his resilience and strength of character.
Josh is currently raising money for Cancer Research by taking part in a mixed martial arts ‘fight for charity’ at Evoque nightclub in Preston and will be fighting in memory of his Gran.