During the first national lockdown, it became clear it wasn’t safe for Sean to stay at home. Imagine what a worrying time it was to up sticks and move to a stranger’s house – but Sean did just that. On top of that source of worry, Sean was also furloughed from his apprenticeship. However, despite these highly challenging times Sean quickly settled into his new placement with a host family: “If I needed anything my hosts would help and show me. They made me feel welcome, we had meals together, went for daily walks, took part in quizzes. They took me to see places I have never been to before. They helped me feel like I am a part of a wider community.”
“If I needed anything my hosts would help and show me.”
Sean enjoying a quiz night with his host family during the first national lockdown
Sean was also completing work for an English resit during lockdown. Ruth, one of Sean’s hosts, has a teaching background and was able to help him get more organised and prepare his coursework. Sean told us: “It wasn’t done for me but Ruth helped me understand how I could do better and where I could try and improve.” Sean found out later in the summer that his efforts had paid off and he had passed the resit, allowing him to progress with his studies.
As restrictions were eased in autumn, Sean went back to complete his apprenticeship at a community centre whilst also continuing to prepare for the big move into his own independent accommodation. Had it not been for lockdown, Sean would have attempted the move sooner, but after having a chance to reflect, he sees the positives of the situation: “I used to think I was ready for it, lockdown and my hosts really helped open my eyes to how much I could still learn and gave me the chance to be even better prepared -from budgeting, baking and cooking, to making lists, planning and also feeling more confident in myself.”
Once Sean completed his apprenticeship, he then had to face the new challenge of trying to gain employment in this challenging climate. It could have been overwhelming but Sean knew he was up to the challenge: “I was a bit unsure, as it was all a big change. I was reassured by SASH and my hosts that I had the skills, that I would be fine and to believe in myself.”
“I was reassured by SASH and my hosts that I had the skills, that I would be fine and to believe in myself.”
Sean surprising his host, Ruth, with a homemade birthday cake
As the move in date approached, Sean took onboard the advice given to him and did everything he could to be fully prepared, from list-making to budgeting his income to spend on smaller home purchases. Sean told us: “I was given the encouragement and advice to make sure I did what I could to prepare. SASH also helped me get grants to help set up home and my hosts took me on many trips to go shopping and get what I needed.”
“I was given the encouragement and advice to make sure I did what I could to prepare.”
Sean spent two weeks decorating and getting everything organised in his new home and still found time to make sure he kept the momentum going in his job search: “I had been applying for jobs all through this and had had a few setbacks” Sean said. “It was still good experience though. And just after I had properly moved in, I got two job offers!”
Sean has now started a new job: “I am working as an Enabling Support Worker, which means I work with adults with additional needs. I feel proud and happy I am now in a position to help others in the community – I feel I am giving back in a way that feels similar to how SASH helped me.”
“I feel proud and happy I am now in a position to help others in the community – I feel I am giving back in a way that feels similar to how SASH helped me.”
Sean having dinner with his host family
Sean will continue to receive support from SASH in the early stages of his new tenancy whist he adapts and learns to overcome any new challenges that come his way. We’re so proud of Sean’s achievements, reaching his goals in this extremely challenging year. Sean is a shining example of how a young person’s life can be transformed by a SASH placement.