Sam first came to the Rock Trust at 17 years old, after leaving home because of the violent behaviour of his mother’s partner and his mother’s choice to support her partner over Sam. He was initially provided temporary housing in a hostel by the council before he was referred to The Rock Trust. We provided him with supported accommodation in a shared flat as part of our Bedrock project. Alongside this he was provided with a support worker to help him with his benefit applications and help him manage his finances and live independently.

Despite the upheaval in his life, the lack of family support, and the new challenges he faced managing his living situation, Sam remained constantly committed to his education, doing everything he could to achieve his best. After leaving home he continued to make the 2 hour round trip to school every day, and threw himself into a variety of extra-curricular activities that he instinctively felt would help him to progress and overcome adversity. He took part in multiple maths events outside of school, joined the school jazz band and guitar group, helped backstage at school performances, and in the holidays took on farm work.

Sam had been interested in law for a while, but after his experiences leaving home and living on his own, this interest grew into a passion, and he became committed to a career in law. After excelling at school he is now studying law full-time at University. This is something to celebrate, but for Sam the barriers to his progression continue to rise. Now that he is in higher education he is no longer eligible for benefits. He is struggling to pay his rent and is finding it difficult to get paid work that he could do around his studies. He has little money for food and basic essentials, and it is affecting his mental health.

Sam is still living in a Rock Trust flat and despite being in rent arrears he will not lose the roof over his head. The Rock Trust are working with him to help him access grants and other forms of support to ensure that he is not prevented from completing his studies and fulfilling his potential.

In the current climate there is no real empathy or support provided to young people who try to aim high and further themselves in the way Sam has. Sam is a remarkable young man who strives to achieve his goals despite the barriers he faces, barriers that no one should have to face in their life time.’ –Frank Ross, Volunteer Coordinator at the Rock Trust.