From living on the streets to starting his own business, James is enjoying a fresh start thanks to forfutures

After years of sleeping rough, James has turned his life around and is receiving training and expert advice on starting his own handyperson business thanks to forfutures.

Forfutures helps improve the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by working with partners to offer opportunities to build a brighter future and to support people into safe, secure housing.

When Lisa Walker, Navigator from forfutures first met James, he was ready to move forward with his life but the 25 year-old didn’t know what his next step should be.

He has now completed training and work placements, become a new dad and settled in his new home during summer 2020.

James had told Lisa at forfutures of his dream of setting up his own company providing handyperson services in his local area. He and his partner were expecting a baby and he wanted to be able to provide for his family himself.

Lisa supported James to gain some experience and get some expert help with the entrepreneurial side of starting a business.

Forfutures were able to secure a week’s work experience in Chester for James with a focus on joinery, in addition to other aspects of handyperson skills. The weeks soon turned into a few months – and the company was so impressed with James that they invited him to stay on. When a forfutures officer visited James on placement and spoke with his supervisor, it was clear that they were in awe of James’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.

Throughout, James was encouraged to speak with his work coach to seek further support. He also benefitted from help from Job Centre Plus who funded online training on self-employment and business skills.

As extra security to provide for himself and his family while his business took off, forfutures helped ensure additional Universal Credit payments were also put in place for twelve months.

Although his work was gathering momentum, managing a business from a small flat and a baby on the way meant James and his partner’s home no longer suited their needs.

Forfutures approached their colleagues at ForHousing, who were able to source a garage for James to run his new business from. James took the lead, making arrangements to set up the direct debit and pick up the keys.

The family have since moved into a family home and are enjoying the extra space and getting settled into their new community.

James has also set up a professional website to show off his services and skills and attract business. It is a testament to the progress he has made during his forfutures journey, and all in under six months.

“I had reached a point where I was really eager to get started but I didn’t know how to take the next step,” said James.

“I’m so proud to have set up my own company at the same time as becoming a father – and I couldn’t be more grateful to the forfutures team for helping me get the experience I needed. They have an amazing team who make a real difference to the people they support.”