Future Builders – Supporting young homeless people during coronavirus

Click here to read the report

We've launched a new report on Future Builders, looking at the brilliant work of our delivery partners to support young people during a challenging year.


17 June 2021

The pandemic has been tough for young people. They’re more than twice as likely to have lost their job, and 1 in 6 has already seen their income fall. 

For homeless young people, the risks are even greater – they’ve often been facing the challenges of the pandemic without the emotional and financial support a family can provide. They need stable housing more than ever.

"Future Builders will help me to learn
things that I need for independent living.
This will help me to be more confident in
the future."

Kaia*, Perth

At OVO, we care deeply about the planet and the people in it. The OVO Foundation supports initiatives across the world that give young people a greener, fairer world to grow up in. 

Youth homelessness is a cause that’s really important to us, which is why we launched our housing initiative, Future Builders, in 2016. During the pandemic, our partners have been working around the clock to help homeless young people find a place to live.

Fixed up, looking sharp

Through Future Builders, we work with local authorities, charities, and housing associations in Bristol, Sheffield, Norfolk, and Perth to acquire neglected properties. Then we give young people who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness the chance to learn how to fix up these houses, making safe and affordable homes for them to live in. 

Once they’re all done up, we power these homes with subsidised renewable energy from OVO. And once they’ve made their house a home, we support our young people as they make the switch into training and longer-term work. It’s a cracking initiative, and one we’re really proud of.

We don’t do this work alone, we work with some truly brilliant charity partners – including End Youth Homelessness, 1625ip, Roundabout, The Benjamin Foundation and The Rock Trust

“There is no doubt Future Builders is an important addition to the support available for homeless young people wherever it has been established.”

Nicholas Connolly, Managing Director End Youth Homelessness

Making it work in the pandemic

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, it’s been a successful year for Future Builders. Even though contractors couldn’t enter properties during lockdown, staff completed painting and decorating themselves – doing everything they could to reduce delays.

Staff continued supporting young people over the phone or via video calls, offering food parcels where needed, and guidance on submitting Universal Credit claims and job hunting. It was tough, but we made it work – and we’ve still had a major impact:

From October 2019 to September 2020:

  • 81 young people took part in Future Builders. Not all young people live in the properties, but can take part in the training and refurbishment.
  • 62 young people achieved a qualification. That’s 77% of the young people who were in the programme.
  • 55 young people gained professional experience, which is 68% of the people who took part.
  • 36 young people were housed across all Future Builders properties. 82% have been able to maintain their tenancy.

Who we’ve helped so far

Since we launched, and with your help, our work on youth homelessness has made a massive difference to the lives of 193 young people and counting. Here is one of their stories:

Peter*, Sheffield

At the beginning of 2020, Peter’s fractured relationship with his mum made living at home extremely challenging. During lockdown, he moved into Roundabout accommodation. Because of Peter’s quick progress, they recommended him for Roundabout’s Future Builders programme.

Since moving into the Future Builders property, Peter has done fantastically well. He’s learnt how to live with other young people, maintained his property, and just started a brand new job. Having a safe place to live as part of the Future Builders scheme has created a solid foundation for Peter to rebuild his life.

You can download the full report on the programme’s impact during 2019/20 here.

You’ve made this possible

None of these young people would have had a place to live without the support of you and your fellow OVO members. Seriously, thank you.

Thousands of OVO members donate to the Foundation each month, and we match everything they give. So, together, we do double the good. All those donations go straight to our projects.

If you’re an OVO Energy customer and pay for your energy by Direct Debit, you can add a small donation to the OVO Foundation to your monthly energy bill.

You can make a donation here.

Together, we can help homeless young people believe in themselves and work towards a better life. 🏠💚


*All young people photographed are models and names have been changed to maintain the privacy of the young people taking part in the programme.

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