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Duncan, The Foyer

The Foyer: Duncan’s story

Based in Croydon, south London, The Foyer provides accommodation and training for young people aged 16-25 who have become homeless.

The Foyer’s vision is to raise young people’s beliefs in their future, draw out their talents and aspirations, engage them in positive activity, and develop life skills to live independently – setting themselves up for their future.

Duncan was one such resident.

After working for a software company in Holland, Duncan returned to the UK and found himself living on the streets of south London.

“I was 23 or 24 at the time and, let’s just say, I made a few bad decisions, particularly about who I chose to live with – and ended up on the streets.”

When he came to stay at The Foyer, it was the staff there who encouraged Duncan to think about starting studying again.

“All the Foyer residents got lessons in cookery and looking after yourself, but you also got life coaching as well. The staff were always coming out with the most fantastic statements about what we could do.

“At first I’d think ‘You’re just being funny, that’s not something I’d be able to do’. But after a while I started thinking, why not?

“My grandfather worked in printing and it just struck as something that I might be interested in, so I started going to lessons in graphic design at the London College of Printing.”

Duncan went on to use his skills – not only helping The Foyer staff in setting up a resident newsletter, but, after moving out of The Foyer, in setting up his own graphic design business too specialising in leaflets and stationery as well as CGI animation.

As told to the South London Guardian newspaper