Seb Bowley (left), 23 year old, shortlisted for social change award.
?Monday, 01 December 2014
A formerly homeless young person who transformed his life and now works tirelessly to help others has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Seb Bowley, from Hereford, is recognised as a rising star in the national DSC Social Change Awards.
The 23-year-old impressed judges with the contributions he has made to the local community and for achieving such positive change in his own life.
“Last year I was facing a really tough time,” said Seb, a former pupil of The Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoats school.
“I’d lost my first job and was trying to find a place to live that would take housing benefit, which isn’t easy in this city.
“I was sleeping on different sofas and really felt that I was left on the scrap heap - at such a young age that wasn’t easy.”
But when Seb discovered the Herefordshire Supported Housing for Young People Project (SHYPP), part of the WM Housing Group, his life changed.
SHYPP works with 16-25 year-olds, offering emergency accommodation in supported housing projects, providing outreach support to young people and young parents, and delivering a 'Nightstop' emergency accommodation project.
It supports around 200 young people every week, including those who need extra help to manage their tenancies, access accommodation or gain employment or training.
SHYPP helped Seb to find accommodation and also encouraged him to become involved in a variety of projects which promote the wellbeing of young people.
As the chair of SHYPP’s Youth Advisory Board, Seb has spoken at the Youth Homeless Parliament at Westminster, presenting his recommendations about what can be done to prevent young people having to live on the streets. He is also an ambassador for the Foyer Federations Healthy Hub, helping other young people to look after both their physical and mental wellbeing.
Tracey Brumwell, Accommodation and Support Manager for SHYPP, said: “Seb is an inspiration to not only the young people he works with but to colleagues and the wider community too.
“When he first came here, Seb had been sleeping in his car but he has turned his life around. He has moved into his own flat and has a full time job alongside his volunteering.”
Now a full-time customer service employee at Waitrose, Seb is focused on progressing in his role, whilst also working towards his goal of becoming a youth support worker.
The 2014 Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday 4 December at DSC's Charity Centre in London.