Funding a future

Beam’s crowdfunding campaign supports homeless people through job training and into stable, paid work


John is raising funds to train as an electrician

Sebastian Barker

Co-founder and COO, Beam

There are currently 280,000 homeless people in England, according to the latest data from homeless charity Shelter. Sadly, the reality is that many people who face homelessness do so because they have not had the same opportunity as the rest of us to nurture their natural talents – and that’s an aspect of inequality that we’re putting right.

Beam is a social enterprise that crowdfunds job training for homeless people and supports them into stable work. If you’re new to crowdfunding, it simply means a group of people raising money online for a cause. In Beam’s case, training and personalised job support for people who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness.

How Beam works

1. Referral

We partner with more than 40 homelessness charities and local authorities in London, who refer homeless people to Beam. To encourage and promote diversity on Beam, we ensure our referrals are representative of the community of people experiencing homelessness.

Sadly, homelessness disproportionately affects ethnic minority groups, which is why 64% of the people we support are of black and minority ethnic backgrounds. We also support a large cohort of single mothers, who, together with their children, represent the largest group of homeless people in the UK.

Most of the people we support are living in temporary accommodation and are motivated to get back into work but require some extra support to get there. For example, they may lack the relevant skills, education, confidence, and support network, which are all barriers to finding stable work.

2. Case worker and budgeting

Once someone is referred to Beam, they are appointed a case worker who builds a personalised employment plan for them. We also identify how much money each person needs to raise, broken down to the nearest pound, factoring in costs such as training, work tools and attire, PPE, childcare and so on. This budget breakdown appears on the individual’s fundraising page, along with their personal story and career goal.

3. Crowdfunding and training

Once the crowdfunding campaign goes live on Beam’s website, members of the public can start donating to their campaign and leave messages of support. The average campaign size is £3,000 and since launching Beam in 2017, 100% of campaigns have fully funded within around three weeks.

After the funds have been raised, the training and any other related costs are purchased directly by Beam. We also have a dedicated team of talent associates who work with employer partners to match our beneficiaries to roles they are suited to, from accounting to construction.

Meet some of Beam’s success stories

Monique training to be a beautician.

Hassko training to become a barber.

James working as a security guard.

Decoda on graduation day.


We are already starting to see the positive results that come when a whole ecosystem of stakeholders come together who are equally committed to finding long-term, systemic solutions to homelessness.

To date, we’ve launched nearly 300 crowdfunding campaigns, raised over £1 million in donations and placed more than 100 people into roles with top-tier employer partners from Lidl to Bupa. It is now easier than ever before for employers to increase diversity in their workforce by tapping into overlooked talent.

An example of someone who has been supported by Beam’s service is Christianah. Christianah is a single mum living in temporary accommodation, who was previously working zero-hour contracts as a carer. She was referred to Beam by a housing officer from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, and decided to pursue a career in dental nursing. She was able to raise £4,557 from 223 supporters in 36 days, and is now working as a trainee dental nurse while she completes her qualifications.

“It is now easier than ever before for employers to increase diversity in their workforce by tapping into overlooked talent ”

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, there are 3.7 million working-age adults who claim welfare while out of work, with 2.5 million of those unemployed for more than a year. This costs the taxpayer £32 billion every year in welfare payments. And with unemployment expected to increase further in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, there is a huge opportunity for services like Beam to collaborate with partners on a crowdsourced solution to an incredibly complex social problem.

If you would like to find out more about Beam, email co-founder and COO Seb Barker or visit Beam’s website.

Share this page


No going back


The government must keep its promise to renters