'Landing the job at a Covid testing lab completely changed Hanen's life forever. Social enterprise Beam, who allow people to donate to individual homeless people, helped the single mum get back on her feet with the job. Previously, the enterprise had helped her raise £3,673 for her studies to become a teaching assistant but continued to support her during the pandemic."
Social Enterprise UK
'Homelessness is a complex issue, but humankind has solved many complex ones and my belief is we can make homelessness a thing of the past faster than most people think."
'Younger people [...] are twice as likely to have been made redundant or furloughed as those over 45 or those earning more than £30,000, according to new research from the charity Nesta. To help those affected, companies and charities have turned to tech. One of those is Beam, a social enterprise that helps homeless people to learn new skills and find employment. In response to the pandemic, it created a new digital hub, which will be publicly launched in July, to help disadvantaged jobseekers to find work after Covid.'
"Georgia is a 19-year-old Londoner who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). After she was made homeless, Beam launched a crowdfunding page to fund Georgia’s training to become an adult carer."
BBC Radio 5 Live
Listen at the 1 hour 56 minute mark.
Forbes interviewed Beam's Senior Hiring Manager, Florence Odumosu, on hiring remotely during the pandemic: "Launched in 2017 social enterprise Beam is a platform that crowdfunds training for homeless people and supports them into stable work. It has been hiring during the pandemic using social media to give job applicants a better insight into what it’s like to work at the company. This takes the form of ‘Instagram Takeovers’ delivered by members of the team, particularly in those roles being actively recruited for. “Applicants get an idea of what an average day of working remotely at Beam entails, while it allows us to attract people from different walks of life, who may not have otherwise thought about joining our business,” says senior talent manager Florence Odumosu."
"A tech company that helps homeless people find accommodation and employment has been handed a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Beam, believed to be one of the world’s first crowdfunding platform for homeless people, has won the “Promoting Opportunity” category and is among 205 organisations to be recognised nationally." The platform allows people to donate to individual homeless people, helping them retrain or secure work and accommodation.
Beam Founder & CEO Alex Stephany is interviewed for Pioneer's Post: “If you bring the right people and the right funding around a problem, you can solve it… It's fundamentally about the people, and that's why my biggest single focus is making sure that we can hire, and hire absolutely stellar people, and make sure that we continue to make Beam an awesome place to work,” Stephany says. “Increasingly my role is just bringing people together, and hopefully watching the magic happen.”
Beam beneficiary Jo shares her experience of using food banks for the first time in her life during the pandemic. 'With this care behind her, Jo was able to address other areas of her life, and was put in touch with Beam – a platform that crowdfunds new career opportunities for homeless people.'
"Michèle, 55, from West Norwood, ran a flower shop, but it was forced to close and she went out of business permanently. With help from social enterprise Beam, she is now training to be a teaching assistant."
Listen at the 44 minute mark.
BBC Radio London
Listen at the 1hr34 mark [Available until 13th April].
"Debts began mounting and Andreea had to sleep on a friend's sofa. Her turnaround came when strangers donated £2,472 for a deposit and a first month's rent via Beam, a crowdfunding social enterprise that helps homeless people."
"I had brief periods of work, but it was always unsecured contracts. Coming to terms with being homeless was tough – I’d never had money troubles before, but the pandemic changed everything. The following month, the Job Centre told me about a charity called Beam that helps homeless people retrain. "I was overwhelmed when the charity helped me crowdfund the £2,500 I needed to study for the four-month front end development diploma, and to buy a laptop."
"I thought that 2020 was going to be my year. I was put on furlough and everything was so uncertain. I did lose myself for a while - I'd been trying to be so positive but it was a lot to take on. Rochelle has been working with homeless charity Beam. To help someone like her get back on their feet, go to Beam.org"
"A 28-year-old who was made homeless after she came out as a lesbian to her family has resorted to sleeping in her girlfriend’s car and people’s sofas to stay safe during the pandemic. Karen is now raising money for a security deposit for a flat and the first month’s rent through the help of social enterprise Beam, as well as the training and equipment she needs to become a qualified construction worker in the hope of finding more stable work to cement her independence."
"Beam, a social enterprise founded in 2017, has helped secure work for more than 120 homeless people, mostly key worker positions, such as in supermarkets, delivery companies and the state-run National Health Service, since March last year. And demand is growing, said Beam founder Alex Stephany, with referrals from charities seeking support for homeless people increasing six-fold in 2020 compared to the year before."
World Economic Forum
"Tony from east London was homeless and had lived in hostels for 10 years. He is now working as an electrician after raising more than £4,000 through a crowdfunding network that supports homeless people into stable careers. He paid for his City and Guilds electrician qualification after raising £4,378 through the Beam.org site."
The Big Issue
"Key workers have been praised as the heroes of the pandemic, working in healthcare, education, transport, food and other industries which keep the country running while most of us are asked to stay at home. Now, thanks to Social enterprise Beam, almost 100 vulnerable people at risk of homelessness are in critical key worker roles since the first national lockdown."
"A young homeless man who left home because he could no longer hide his sexuality has found his calling as an employee at a Covid-19 testing centre. Malik, who cannot disclose his real name for identification reasons, moved into a homeless hostel on the first day of lockdown in March 2020. Through social enterprise Beam, Malik was able to crowdfund £1,293 to cover a laptop, smartphone, travel and clothes."
"Michele Lorent, 55, was a florist whose bouquets brought in £35,000 a month at Borough Market in London. [...] Office workers followed the advice to work from home. She closed her stall shortly afterwards, realising that her 17-year-old career was over. Ms Lorent refused to despair. She contacted Beam and just over a hundred strangers raised her £2,462 target. She used the money to buy a laptop and start training to become a teaching assistant."
UNILAD spoke with Marzena, who ‘was in a really bad place’ just a few years ago. Homeless, and with no clue whatsoever as to how to get back on her feet, Marzena found a lifeline through Beam, an organisation that helped her raise the £4,275 required to train as a beautician. Marzena began working in a beauty salon back in March, and finally began to feel as if she was getting on the right track. However, once lockdown hit, Marzena sadly ended up losing her much-longed-for job, a setback that made her feel as if she was ‘back to square one’. Fortunately, Beam was able to lend Marzena a hand once again, helping her obtain a position as a catering assistant on a coronavirus ward.
"Andreea is a 21-year-old single mum. She was living in a refuge for domestic abuse survivors with her baby daughter but now she has somewhere to call home - just in time for Christmas. "My Christmas tree was the first thing I put up when I moved in," she says. "It will be different, but I am so happy that I am in my own place now, it will be the best Christmas of my whole life. It's like a Christmas miracle."
"If you're curious to learn how to use 'Tech for Good' and novel business models to tackle huge social problems - and make some money - don’t miss this incredible episode. Alex Stephany, Founder & CEO of Beam, has taken his particularly bold and ambitious problem-solving mind and turned it towards the massive issue of homelessness."
"Marzena had a difficult journey to becoming a key worker. She was homeless before Beam raised money for her to train as a beautician, but when the pandemic meant that work dried up, the charity supported her again towards securing her current role."
"In 2020, employers are finding ways to engage with a sense of purpose and broader social good. This is a sentiment which hasn’t gone unnoticed by social enterprise Beam who launched its ‘Donate Your Christmas Party’ campaign. They are calling on UK businesses to donate money they can’t spend this year to support homeless people get into work."
With nearly three quarters of a million losing their jobs as a result of the pandemic, Beam is featured in the Sun's roundup of organisations helping the unemployed in 2020.
Beam beneficiary Regina shares her powerful story of domestic abuse and homelessness.
Dubbed the Black Friday of charity, December 1 is Giving Tuesday, the annual post sales day to give back to charitable organisations in the age of online shopping. This year, Beam features in Evening Standard's Giving Tuesday gift guide.
Sifted covers Beam's award win at the Super Connect for Good awards.
Beam is featured in Red's charity Christmas gift guide for 2020. All organisations listed work towards improving some of the most pressing social problems- from homelessness to domestic violence.
Beam has been featured among 50 of the most promising high-growth tech firms in the UK. The startups are recognised in a list created by tech group Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK).
Cherrie raised £3,847 with Beam, which will support her into stable housing. She shares her emotional story with the i newspaper.
The Big Issue
Beam is featured in the Big Issue's top 40 social enterprises this year, alongside Change Please and Code Like a Girl.
Beam beneficiaries Nabin and Hadi share their experiences of modern day slavery with Metro. Both Nabin and Hadi raised money with Beam to pursue new careers after experiencing human trafficking and exploitation here in the UK. Nabin is now working as a Warehouse Operative and Hadi is a chef at a London restaurant.
Beam beneficiary Leslie recounts being trafficked into the UK after being “imprisoned” by her employers when arriving in the UK. Leslie used Beam's services to crowdfund £6,186 and is now working as a beautician.
Fleeing the Gambia from FGM and forced marriage, Beam beneficiary Hadi found herself exploited by British traffickers. She tells the Times how she was saved by the young child of her enslaver.
"Beam, which uses crowdfunding technology to raise funds for the homeless and supports them in getting a skilled job...has seen three quarters of its beneficiaries sustain work for over 3 months"
Beam beneficiary Dayo, 36, turned her life around following three years of living on the streets. With Beam's help, she raised £1,365 and is now working as a Healthcare Assistant.
BBC Radio London
Listen to Beam's segment at the 1 hour 45 minute mark.
"Kevin, 48, in London, was made bankrupt in the 2008 recession. Here he talks about his experience of unemployment, homelessness and turning his life around with the help of social enterprise Beam."
"Hundreds of thousands of employees face being laid off as Britain enters the largest recession on record. As businesses struggle to survive the effects of lockdown, it’s workers who bear the brunt of swingeing cuts. Jenny Longden has been speaking to those who have already lost their jobs, and asks the experts, how bad is it going to get?"
"We caught up with Jie Low, head of operations at Beam, to talk all things from working to give homeless people sustainable long-term jobs, to inspirational success stories and international expansion to the US."
"For some, like single mum Sharell Thomas, it's been a challenge just to get essentials - as she's losing £150 per month. She's also had to rely on family, friends and platforms like Beam - a group that support homeless people. It's been a help with things like vouchers for supermarkets, bookshops and transport."
"A new campaign to help homeless people into key worker roles launched today. Social impact organisation Beam, which was first founded in 2017, has started its awareness campaign dubbed #FundAFuture, with posters placed outside hospitals, care homes and building sites across the city."
"Daniela is a survivor of domestic abuse. Since she left her former partner in 2016, she has spent a period of time living precariously at a women’s refuge. She is currently working with Beam, an organisation that funds training for young homeless people to support them with getting into work."
"Magpie connected me with another charity called Beam, which is now raising money for a high chair and tablet with educational apps for my son and a laptop so I can improve my English and hopefully get a job as soon as my status is granted. A laptop would be good to get out of this isolation hole."
"The platform’s current focus is on helping people into roles facing critical shortages, and as part of its response, Beam, which was initially funded by the Mayor of London, is now crowdfunding a Coronavirus Emergency Fund and co-ordinating the provision of emergency care packages to London’s homeless."
"Ojevwe, who lives in temporary accommodation in London with his eight-year-old daughter who has learning difficulties, has chosen to homeschool his daughter rather than keep her in school due to the coronavirus risk. He's raising money for a printer through Beam so that he can print out some of her work and memory card games, which will make it easier for her to do the work and concentrate."
"Social enterprise Beam, which crowdfunds training and resources to get homeless people into work, has refocused its efforts during the crisis to help the homeless into key worker roles."
"Homeless Giulia Rossi was sleeping on a friend’s sofa while trying to find work, but landed a supermarket assistant role with Asda, which is recruiting 5,000 new staff. The 20-year-old from London was helped by specialist site Beam.org, which lets members of the public fund a homeless person into work by paying for training, childcare, course fees and work mentors."
"Sonia, 33, lives with her husband, 36, and her 10-year-old and 34-month-old sons in a one-bedroom bedsit in the London Borough of Newham. Since the coronavirus struck, her husband has lost his job, putting further strain on their finances, as Sonia is unable to work. They are looking to raise money through Beam to buy a laptop for their son so he can complete his schoolwork during the isolation period, and a tabletop freezer so they can keep their food fresh."
"A nice way to show your mum you’re thinking of her, but also other mums in need around the world, too, is with a We Are Beam gift card. They directly support people in need, including mums who are currently homeless. Your mum will be emailed her gift voucher and prompted to go on the website and choose who she’d like to support. After the donation, she’ll be kept in the loop with that person’s progress, so she can see how the donation made an impact."
"Unlike sites such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter, Beam ensures every campaign is funded at a similar rate; 80% of donations are split between all the campaigns so there is never one that doesn’t meet its target goal, which Stephany says is important to ensure everyone is given the opportunity for employment."
"Renaisi organised my CSCS card, which is required to work on construction sites, and by some miracle, my support worker referred me to Beam, a crowdfunding website that helps homeless people like me. I received £4,324 – more than enough for the £2,844 digger operator course and the £700 for the street works course. I couldn’t believe it."
"Single mum Regina White fed her seven-month-old daughter porridge knowing she would have to go hungry as she had no money left for food or electricity. She is one of the single mums who have turned to complete strangers for cash to help pay for childcare while looking for work, using a crowdfunding platform called Beam."
"It was the housing agency that referred me to Beam, who laid out my career options. I used to work as a roofer and run my own business. But maintaining a business with an active addition didn't work out well for me. I know in 3 years' time, I will be running my own business and hiring electricians. I will be qualified up to the eyeballs."
"Six women have spoken about how they survived homelessness and are planning to turn their lives around in 2020. They have all crowdfunded their way into new professions with the support of London-based charity Beam."
"60-year-old homeless grandmother Maria is crowdfunding to be able to train for a new career after 17 years of domestic abuse left her unable to work. Maria wants to train to be a security guard, so she can help other people whose lives have been affected by crime."
"Beam helped Christianah set up a crowdfunding page containing her story, photos and a budget breakdown of the total costs the training would set her back. Once she has finished her course, she wants to become a Beam supporter herself. She says: “I don’t really like asking people for help. So it would be like paying back.”"
"Beam is one of the best things to happen so far. House of St Barnabas referred me to Beam, an organisation that crowdfunds new career opportunities for homeless men and women. Even though I'm in the early stages of my residency, it's all been pretty good. They help you get to the financial support, and give you tools to work on your finances. They sat me down, and they made a list of all of my bills, a plan on how to go forward, stuff like that."
"Launched in 2017, Beam has supported 151 people, at an average cost of £3,313 each. Eighty per cent of its users — typically long-term unemployed living in homeless shelters — have started work in their target job, from electricians to accountants."
"A man who spent a decade in prison for selling drugs is calling on the goodwill of the public this festive season, to give him a second chance. Corey, 50, who was homeless when he finished his prison sentence, is raising £5,000 through Beam so that he can train up to become an electrician and give back to those in need."
"This Christmas, Beam is introducing gift cards to buy friends and family that include a one-off donation which the giver can allocate to any homeless person crowdfunding on Beam’s platform, with the money going to the individual’s employment training."
"Beam is providing a practical, transparent approach to addressing Britain’s homelessness. There are many worthy causes in the world, but if you’re feeling charitable this Christmas, this might be one to consider."
Badass Women's Hour
"In the season of giving the Badass Ladies have been finding out how you can create real change this Christmas in a personal way! In the studio is Decoda, she was helped back into college by the donations she received through her Beam campaign, she has been updating the people who helped her on the progress she has made every step of the way."
"This Christmas, Beam is introducing gift cards to buy your friends and family that include a one-off donation you can allocate to any homeless person crowdfunding on Beam’s platform. All donations go directly to the individual’s employment training."
"Lawrence knew he needed to upskill himself, but was conscious that this takes not only time and money, but also stability - three things he didn't have. It was then that he stumbled upon Beam, an organisation that crowdfunds employment training for homeless people."
"True CSR requires collaboration. It shouldn’t start with a ready-baked idea where charities and social enterprises only have the option to say yes or no. It’s great to come with ideas. But also prepare to be challenged if what you suggest doesn’t align with an organisation’s current, urgent needs. The right CSR will benefit your company in all kinds of ways. But if it’s benefiting the giver more than the receiver, ask yourself if that’s the CSR you really should be doing."
"Help support a homeless person to crowdfund their employment training with this brilliant gift card scheme from charity Beam. The gift cards can be purchased in any amount, so you can give as much or as little as you can spare."
"Alex Stephany came up with the idea for Beam (beam.org) when he met a homeless man outside Archway Tube station. Beam is a crowdfunding platform that funds education and training for homeless people so they can gain work and earn enough to get off the streets."
"Critically, Beam is focused on the ultimate outcomes more than the money. The goal is to help people find stable employment in a position that will provide a living wage. So far, 52 of their 139 clients to date have reached that milestone. The rest are either in training or looking for work, a spokesperson says."
"Shoppers are predicted to splurge a record £2.48million a minute in next week’s Black Friday sales – but could your cash be better spent? Employment crowdfunding platform Beam.org is urging us all to use our spare coins to help change a life."
"Four Tap for Change points dotted throughout the Square Mile now allow you to tap a phone, debit or credit card, making a £3 donation each time. The money goes straight to homelessness charity Beam.”
"Online crowdfunding platform Beam will help Big Issue vendors into work thanks to an exciting new partnership. The Big Issue will refer selected vendors to Alex Stephany’s tech-for-good organisation, which will provide vendors with career coaching, budgeting advice and ongoing mentorship."
“320,000 people are homeless in the UK, says charity Shelter. It’s easy to become just a number. Now there is a solution that puts a face and a name to a person without a home, helps them find a budget for training or child care and brings them into a community.”
“Beam.org is a platform much like GoFundMe or JustGiving but instead focuses on a select group of homeless people who are studying for qualifications...Stephany believes that crowdfunding is a very effective way of getting people into work, partly because it removes financial barriers like transport, childcare or tools. But more than that, it also builds a support network through the funders.”
"London entrepreneur Alex Stephany thinks tech is key to getting people into work and eradicating poverty. His model, Beam, uses an online platform to rally a homeless person’s community closer around them until they have the skills to support themselves."
“Over the next few months, Alex hopes to scale the platform and reach even more vulnerable individuals. He says: “2018 was about proving the model. 2019 is about growing our impact. That's something we can only do with your help. If you want to help a homeless person for the long-term, I'd encourage you to join this community.”
Tarquin, who now works while training to be a gas safety engineer, raised just under £4,000. His parents were drug users and he started at 14. He points outside and says: “I grew up down the road with Tony (another member of the group) and heard how Beam helped him out. His story inspired me.”
“Beam has been hailed as an innovative approach to solving the nation's growing homelessness crisis, with more than one in eight of those on the streets having served in the Forces. The tech platform works by helping homeless people raise funds to pay for professional training in professions as diverse as plumbing and accountancy through donations from the public. The aim is to ensure former service personnel can obtain long-term skilled and stable employment.”
“[Hana] is one of about 50 homeless people who secured employment training through Beam, which it says is the world’s first purpose-built platform that helps homeless people crowdfund donations through their online profile.”
“Beam is making it easy for anyone who cares about this issue to make an impact. By making it easy, Beam is building a people-powered community already numbering in the thousands that are helping solve homelessness, one person at a time…”
“For mother-of-one, Hana, the terrifying reality of moving from East Africa to the UK left her with no bank account, no job and no place for her and her son to call home.
“I meet members of Beam, a crowdfunding platform which allows those who have been homeless to seek donations towards the training and qualifications they need to work.
“Beam is the world’s first crowdfunding platform of its kind. Backed by the Mayor of London, the app launched in September and has since funded 22 campaigns, raising over £67,000 from public donations to fund a range of industry-recognised qualifications. There are over 1,200 supporters and 23 homeless members on the platform who are pursuing a range of career paths - from electricians and accountants to teaching assistants and social workers.
“I know becoming an electrician is my next step back to a normal life,” he said. “My plan in 5 years is to be at the level 3 of electrical installations and looking at setting up my own business! This is going to be a life changing experience for me”.
”The UK technology sector grew 2.6 times faster than the UK economy as a whole last year, new figures show. One of the biggest growth areas was in compassionate tech, with new apps and online services helping society's most vulnerable….Beam approaches homeless charities, creates a plan for people to get their dream role, and then uses social media to match sponsors to individual campaigns.”
“Alex Stephany, a former corporate lawyer, has set up a crowdfunding platform, Beam, to try to help them find professional employment and move on with their lives. The app allows donors to contribute small amounts to the costs of retraining homeless people, who Mr Stephany calls “members”, whose biographies are listed on its website and smartphone app, or split donations equally."
“Along with backing from the Mayor of London, innovation foundation Nesta and some of the UK's leading tech entrepreneurs, Beam also has an ambassador - James Bowen, the author of multi-million copy selling A Street Cat Named Bob. “Beam is a great way to help these people to get back on their feet and actually train in something they want to do," says Bowen, and looking at the stats it's hard to disagree.”
London Evening Standard
"Beam, a tech start-up launched in November, has won financial support from Mayor Sadiq Khan for its innovative approach to solving the nation’s growing homelessness crisis...Matt Harrison, director of Homeless Link, a charity dedicated to ending homelessness through policy change, said Beam is one of the most promising digital innovations in homelessness” of recent years."
"Supporting homeless people costs the UK £1.15billion a year, while failing to tap into the talents and work aspirations of tens of thousands of people. One tech start-up thinks it has the answer. Beam crowdfunds money for homeless people to train for jobs, then supports them into stable employment."
"Tony was homeless for decades, but now he’s turning his life around. He started training as an electrician but ran out of money to pay for the course. So he turned to Beam."
“A new crowdfunding platform has been set up to help homeless people pay for job skills and training. Beam lets people donate money securely to fund specific employment qualifications for homeless people.It is the brainwave of tech entrepreneur Alex Stephany, who wanted to help tackle the growing problem of homelessness.”
"This transparency in how donors’ money is spent, with regular photographs of the recipient... is a key factor in convincing supporters that their money is having an impact."
"The founder of Beam says that his site is not doing the work of the state and builds an emotional connection with individuals helped into jobs....To develop the idea for Beam, Stephany spent more than a year meeting staff and managers at homelessness charities including Thames Reach, Crisis, and Connexions."
“Alex Stephany, CEO of tech start-up Beam, is on a mission to help as many homeless people as possible re-build their lives and get off the street for good by creating a company that crowd-funds to allow members to learn a skill or a trade…The best illustration of Beam's impressive work isn't a spreadsheet of figures, or the total number of funds raised - it's the honest word of one man who's been through Beam's unique model: Joe”.
“Tony Elie is one of the first people to benefit from a new platform called Beam, which gives homeless people a leg up via crowdfunding. He explains how it’s helping him make a fresh start… “Now, when you’re in my situation, you get used to hearing things that turn out to be too good to be true. I have to admit that I hadn’t even heard of crowdfunding before, and I had no idea if it would work. But pretty soon it was turning my life around”.
“A new website has launched helping you sponsor homeless people to get back on their feet with training. The first steps back into work can be difficult, especially without up-to-date qualifications. But Beam uses crowdfunding technology to get people training in areas like construction, teaching, plumbing, electrics or driving professionally.”
"Beam allows users to sponsor homeless people and contribute towards training courses in London. It also lets users follow their progress, with regular updates and photos of them receiving training or at work."