Unite Foundation

From Homeless to Safe and Secure…

Jax tells us what the Unite Foundation Scholarship means to him…

“The Scottish Government have found that looked after children are 10 times less likely to go to University than their peers. It has been revealed that care experienced people are 20 times more likely to not make it to their 21st birthday.

I remember being told I was either going to end up addicted to drugs, in prison or dead. Those were the expectations. I had 20 temporary addresses before I had even turned 20. I hadn’t experienced stability and was always an anxious child with some behaviour issues because of my circumstances.

I became homeless the same month I was sitting my higher exams to get into college. It was an alienating period and my mental health spiralled. Education has always been a focus that kept me distracted from my situation. I did well at college and was accepted into my first choice at university to study journalism. I worked over the summer, but I was getting increasingly anxious about how I was going to afford university, where I was going to live and how I was going to cope away from my friends and partner who were my support system. The care leavers advisor from the university contacted me about a scholarship I was eligible for, I applied not really thinking I would be awarded.

The First Minister stated: “We all have a role to play in supporting and listening more to our young people to ensure they get the same stability and life chances that the rest of us take for granted.”

Charities like the Unite Foundation are fighting to break down the barriers that care experienced and students estranged from their family’s face. The Foundation offers scholarships that provide free accommodation for 3 years, support and opportunities for internships and jobs.

I remember being told I had been awarded the scholarship. It was a huge weight off my shoulders. I felt for the first time that someone believed in me and wanted to help me to succeed. During the Summer the Unite Foundation was able to move me to Edinburgh to work for Lloyds so I could start saving for my future. This Summer the Unite Foundation is helping me move to London to find industry related work and attend a documentary film course at UCL. If it wasn’t for the scholarship during the Summer term, I would be back at square one in a homeless shelter. Instead I am able to contribute to society and my future career.

The Unite Foundation has provided me with the support that other students are able to receive from their families. I went from having no home to knowing I have a safe and secure place with Unite Students across the country. The scholarship has provided me with my own comfortable space where I can sleep, eat, study, grow and work towards my goals. I am very grateful for the work the Unite Foundation does to help me. Without my scholarship I don’t think I would be looking forward to turning 21 this year.”