Lewis youth, Megan Shaw, has turned her life around thanks to Western Isles Foyer.
The 23-year-old is one of scores taking control for themselves with support years
from the local charity which supports homeless young people.
Foyer works with a wide variety of young people without a home including young people
who are leaving care placements, locally or on the mainland, or who are unable to
remain at home with their parents or carers.
Megan said: “Foyer were the light I needed to guide me through the darkness.”
In the New Year, Megan is set to take the big step of moving out of supported accommodation
she has been in for the past four years to take on her own permanent tenancy with
Hebridean Housing Partnership.
She started a job with Who Cares Scotland in August and recently won the Saltire
Young Volunteer of the Year award in recognition of her volunteering contribution
with Alzheimer Scotland.
“I was actually really chuffed,” she admitted. “I’m rather proud, to be honest.”
It’s a far cry from when she first came to Foyer, fresh out of the care system and
lacking any confidence whatsoever. But they were there for her every step of the
way, even physically helping her move in on the day she took up her tenancy with
“It was really good. I came to Foyer every day for support. They helped me with budgeting,
cooking and cleaning and how to make a home nice. They helped me start to change.”
Megan successfully completed two college courses and is now working with Who Cares
Scotland as a participation assistant, a job for which she is qualified due to her
own experiences of care.
“I’m reaching out to young people that are in care or are care experienced and allowing
them to have a voice.
“Some of them don’t feel they have a voice because of all the stigma around being
Megan said Foyer’s support was “massive.”
“When I came here first, I was really withdrawn. I was really shy. I was struggling
with depression and all that.
“My confidence was rock bottom. I didn’t have any self-esteem but, through their
support with accommodation and college, I’ve developed and now I am a lot more confident.”
Homelessness is hidden problem in the Western Isles - people do not sleep rough on
the streets yet many have no home to call their own and end up sofa surfing or living
in temporary accommodation.
Foyer has ten one-bedroom flats and helps young people cope with managing to live
Over the last year it supported more than 75 young people across all its services.
A Monday to Friday drop-in service is run from the charity’s base at 36 Bayhead in
Foyer also run monthly service user nights and invite guest speakers along to talk
about issues relevant to the young people. The events are aimed at reducing social
isolation and encouraging positive peer networks.