Heidi on the steps of the Houses of Parliament
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How a young homeless teenager was set on track to becoming a lawyer

James de Souza | 14.11.16

One of the reasons we’re so determined to tackle youth homelessness is the sheer amount of waste we see every day – the wasted talent of young people who because they have nowhere to live, struggle to fulfil their potential.

When she was 17, Heidi found herself homeless - the result of a family bereavement and the breakdown of her relationship with her mother.

Despite everything, Heidi was determined to take her A-levels, go to university and train to become a lawyer. As she says, I want to be able to make a difference and give people justice. I want to help people where it’s needed”.  

But it’s hard for any young person, let alone someone experiencing homelessness, to achieve this dream on their own. With nowhere to stay, Heidi approached St Basils, a LandAid-funded project in Birmingham. They provided Heidi with life skills training, alongside her sixth form education, to help her live independently and focus on her goals.

And this year, Heidi achieved her biggest step so far towards her dream of becoming a lawyer. She secured an eight-month paid internship with prestigious law firm, Pinsent Masons, fighting off fierce competition from thousands of other applicants!

St Basils was a great help, from arranging her a grant for new work clothes to giving her the support she needed to turn her life around. As she says, “when you come to St Basils…you’re not exactly in the best time of your life [but] when you’ve got people like Liz (her Support Worker) and others that are saying ‘you will get there’, it’s stops you losing focus”.

LandAid was delighted to hear the news of Heidi’s success – but there’s more! By coincidence, Pinsent Masons, with their in-depth knowledge of the real estate market, are one of LandAid’s Foundation Partners. One of their senior consultants, David Taylor, even sits on our board. It’s thanks to the generosity of companies like them, that LandAid can support projects like St Basils in the first place.

In other words – the support that the property industry gives to young homeless people through LandAid has come full circle. Heidi, now aged 18, is in a position where she can make an active contribution to one of the companies that are helping to end youth homelessness. Thanks to this experience, she’s now setting her sights on the Russell Group universities and her future as a lawyer looks very bright. We look forward to seeing where Heidi ends up – and it could be closer than you think! 

Photo: Heidi standing on the right.