Spacemade X Beam: Beam tells their Story
Five years ago, Beam’s founder Alex Stephany got to know a homeless man outside his local tube station. He’d buy him cups of coffee and socks when it was getting cold. But despite the well-meaning gestures, the man’s situation kept deteriorating.
So Alex began to ask himself what it would take to make a lasting difference to this man’s life. He had never had a job, and was illiterate. For Alex, the answer lay in empowering him with the skills and training needed to sustainably support himself. Of course, that would cost far more than coffees or socks – but what if everyone chipped in?
That’s when the idea of crowdfunding employment training for homeless people was born. Over the following nine months he developed Beam’s model working with homeless people and charities. Beam launched in October 2017, and since then we’ve supported more than 850 homeless people into stable jobs and homes.
Many people become homeless because they don’t have the right skills or education to get into stable work. Some struggle to get into work because they can’t afford childcare or travel costs when they do find a job. Others lack the confidence and connections to kickstart the job-hunting process.
This is where Beam comes in. We help homeless people raise funds to cover the cost of job training, childcare, travel, work tools and clothing through our website. At the same time, our team of caseworkers provide personalised support, helping every homeless person on their journey into a stable job. Support also comes from members of the public who leave messages of encouragement when they donate.
To date, Beam has crowdfunded more than £3.2m in donations from members of the public and forward-thinking companies. 100% of donations help homeless people pursue stable jobs in in-demand sectors ranging from healthcare to construction. We also help families raise funding for rental deposits and housing essentials, enabling them to move into safe and long-term housing.
How can companies get involved?
There are lots of ways that companies can work with Beam to tackle homelessness.
One way is by sending Beam gift cards – these can be purchased for any amount and sent out in bulk to your team, clients or customers. For example, homeware brand Mustard sends a £5 Beam gift card to their customers for each purchase. Meanwhile, recruitment firm 3Search sends a Beam gift card to their clients each time they place a candidate with them. And Spacemade sends a £10 Beam gift card to each new member at Neighbourhood Works in London Fields, who signs up.
There’s also an option to raise funds for Beam as a company, by setting up a fundraiser like PROPER did. Fundraisers are great for team bonding, with many companies choosing to do group physical challenges, bake sales, and other creative activities to generate donations for Beam.
Another route is to become a Beam employer partner. We’re currently working with amazing companies – from Bupa to Arriva to Pret – who hire Beam’s beneficiaries. This is a great way to fill skills shortages, at the same time as diversifying your hiring process and creating genuine social impact.
Companies also get their own Impact Page on Beam’s website, where they can see exactly who they’ve supported and follow them on their journey, such as Spacemade’s one here. We want all of our partners to see the impact they’re having and how they are changing lives, one person at a time.
If you’re keen to get involved or find out more, go to beam.org/companies and we’d love to chat!