For most of us, Christmas is a time for spending with loved ones. But what do you do when you find yourself in a foreign country and estranged from your family?
Lukas is a young man from Lithuania, who was found sleeping rough in Central London. He’d only been in the UK for a few weeks and, with no-one to turn to, had ended up on the streets. Luckily, he was found by outreach workers from New Horizon Youth Centre, an organisation which receives project funding from LandAid.
They welcomed him into their day centre, where they gave him a hot meal, a shower and helped him do his laundry. Here he was able to socialise with other young people and most importantly, feel safe.
Things were not easy for Lukas on the streets. He has quite severe Asperger syndrome which meant he was often victimised by others. Thankfully, the staff at New Horizon were quickly able to find Lukas a safe place to sleep in an emergency shelter. But they also needed to help him find long-term housing and enable him to learn the skills needed to live on his own.
Lukas attended New Horizon’s Independent Living Skills course to help him learn about budgeting, how to pay bills and his rights and responsibilities as a private renter.
New Horizon also supported Lukas to find a job. The staff helped him with his CV and developed his English and communication skills with a tutor. After lots of hard work, Lukas did find a job and this meant he was able to start to save towards a deposit for his own place. New Horizon’s Private Rented Sector team helped him to find somewhere both suitable and affordable.
Lukas is now happily settled in his own home and continues to receive ongoing to support to ensure that he is able to live happily and comfortably. He’s come a long way from his time on the streets last Christmas.
Christmas is a difficult time for so many young people like Lukas. Thanks to New Horizon, Lukas is now settled, happy and looking towards an independent and secure future. This Christmas we need your support to help so many other young people like Lukas. Without it, they may not be as lucky as he was.