In 2010 Sakib and his parents came to the UK from Bangladesh. However, due to personal reasons, within 6 months, Sakib left his home and being only 13 years old he was placed in the care of social services. For the next 8 years Sakib was placed in different foster homes. In 2019, being over 18, he tried to get his own place through Tower Hamlets Council and even had a flat viewing in Canary Wharf but he was unsuccessful. ‘They didn’t tell me why’, Sakib said. Later that same year Sakib was sadly told he had to leave his foster home due to limited space. ‘There was 3 bedrooms and 6 people’, he told us. In October 2019 Sakib left with no other options!
“I feel lost”
Initially, Sakib’s social worker was able to provide him with a temporary hotel for a couple of weeks, ‘but after this’, his Social Worker told him, ‘you have to look for yourself.’ Indeed, after his time in the hotel ended, this is what Sakib did. ‘I tried everywhere I could’, he said. The council told him that as he was single they could not help, and then signposted him to other places. ‘It was a wasting of time’, he said. While on occasions he was able to get some help from friends, he also had to sleep in parks and at train stations. ‘At that time’, he said, ‘it was so cold. It was a little bit stressful. [I was] scared, I feel lost.’ Things took a turn for the worse for Sakib when he fell asleep one morning in a coffee shop only to wake up with his bag gone. All his important documents including his Biometric Residence Permit were taken!
Sakib was advised to go to Centre Point. Although they could not help him directly, they pointed him in the direction of the Whitechapel Mission and it was from here that Sakib was referred into GrowTH.
‘I was so excited’
Sakib described his first night at the shelter as ‘feeling safe’. He particularly recalls his conversation with one volunteer who shared his journey going from being a guest in GrowTH to getting into accommodation, working as a barista, and now volunteering with GrowTH. In a time of uncertainty, this was a welcome encouragement!
Sakib’s main barrier to accessing more permanent accommodation was his lack of ID. No hostel or shared house would accept him without seeing physical proof of his ID and although the process of obtaining his new ID was underway, receiving the replacement card would take much more than his 28-night stay. It seemed most likely that Sakib would have to go to another shelter.
However, at that time a room at GrowTH Housing was due to become available. After a successful interview with the GrowTH Housing team, it was agreed that Sakib could stay on at the shelter until the room was ready. Sharing about the day he moved in, Sakib said, ‘I was so excited. I feel safe, and I got somewhere I can relax. Thank you. You guys helped me a lot.’
Now in settled accommodation, Sakib can finally focus on his future. He is looking for any job right now but is particularly interested in going on a barber course and eventually having his own barber shop.
It was a real joy seeing Sakib’s smile on the day he came into the flats! It is a pleasure to have him with us and to support him to achieve new goals and gain the independence to one day live in a place of his own.