Osman arrived in the UK in 2015 seeking asylum from South Sudan where his home and life were at risk from civil war. He was granted refugee status in the UK and began his life in the north of England. After a year of living in England Osman had found himself unable to build any meaningful relationships. He was struggling to find employment and settle into the new community where he found himself. He was surviving with the support of benefits, but when his landlord informed him that they would be carrying out long-term maintenance work in the flat, he decided he would try and begin again, and re-located to Edinburgh.

Osman still had no connections or support networks in the UK. He was temporarily housed by the council in Edinburgh, but it was ultimately decided that he was ‘intentionally homeless’ because he had not been forced to leave his previous flat. As a result of this he was told by the council they could no longer help him, and he had no choice but to sleep rough on the streets of Edinburgh.

Osman found out about the Rock Trust and came directly to us for help. As well as helping him to register with a GP, we advocated for him when he tried to re-apply for temporary housing and provided him with support looking for work. Due to shortages of temporary accommodation and Osman’s initial assessment as ‘intentionally homeless’, we were still unable to secure him a room. Fortunately Osman found accommodation with a new friend, and with our help secured a part-time job.

We encouraged Osman to continue to get involved with the different services Rock Trust had on offer. He attended multiple group-work activities such as cooking and employability, where he was able to improve his English and build a positive social network. We helped Osman with food packages and bus passes while he waited for his first wages, alongside a grant to purchase work clothing.

Osman signed up for the ‘Ready for Work’ programme through our partnership with Business in the Community. The experience was invaluable to him, and having now successfully completed the programme Osman has been taken on as a part-time employee by the organisation he was placed with. This is a huge achievement for Osman. It is the end of a long and gruelling journey for him, and the start of a new journey where he can feel a valued and empowered member of his new community in Edinburgh.