Luke’s Story on RISE

Luke’s Story on RISE





As part of our RISE celebration series and as we conclude the programme, today the focus is on Luke’s journey with RISE partner Foundation UK, and dedicated Selby & Harrogate based Keyworker, Joanna (Jo).

Based across the North of England, Foundation UK have been working with care leavers, domestic abuse victims, ex-offenders, and those at risk of homelessness for over thirty years, offering life changing services to the most vulnerable people across their communities.

Following a wet and windy train journey to Selby, I met Luke and Jo at a nearby coffee shop to discuss their experience of working together on the RISE programme.

21-year-old Luke’s journey with Foundation UK first began whilst he was living in one of their Malton hostels. Following a series of personal problems and a relationship breakdown, he later moved to Selby where he was first introduced to Jo through his Housing Support Worker, Shaun. It was after this initial chat, that Luke signed up to the RISE programme.

For Luke, ‘’getting out the house’’ was a priority, something Jo has actively encouraged. Prior to RISE, Luke was isolated, new to Selby, and spending long periods of time alone in his room, rarely leaving the hostel due to anxiety. Previous substance abuse issues and a former conviction had also had a substantial impact on his mental health.

Much of the support Jo has provided has been arranged “outside the hostel’’, where the focus has been on wellbeing and community engagement. One on one support has been delivered on walks and in coffee shops, where the two have discussed shorter and longer-term goals, Luke’s barriers to work, finances, and organised activities for him to engage with, like Up for Yorkshire’s ‘Walking for Wellbeing’ group.

Luke has also recently started attending ANDYSMANCLUB on a Monday, men’s mental health charity operating free peer support groups in various locations across the UK (Malton & Selby included). He tells us it’s a good place to get ’’stuff off your chest’’.

Encouragement from Jo to engage with his GP and build healthier habits around eating, sleeping, and getting active are also supporting Luke to make positive changes in his life. He’s even recently gotten rid of his Xbox in the hope of fixing his sleep schedule- his own initiative, not Jo’s.







RISE has helped financially too, in that counselling sessions have been funded through the programme. As has an Air-Fryer (to encourage healthier financial & food choices), and a series of Archery sessions- a wellbeing activity encouraging Luke to reconnect with an old hobby he shares with his Grandad, a retired Scout leader.

Healthier habits aside, Jo’s been encouraging Luke to return to education. Having left school in year 9 with no formal qualifications, finding work has been tricky- even despite Luke’s experience as a Commis Chef and a Warehouse Operative. With a push from Jo, Luke has now enrolled in a Functional Maths course at Community House, where he hopes to gain a L4 Maths qualification. So far, he’s enjoying it and it’s been a springboard to meet people his own age.

An English qualification is on the cards too, but not just yet. The focus over the last few months has been around supporting Luke to look for work and finding a suitable college course, or apprenticeship in Painting & Decorating, a career he’s keen to pursue. His confidence is growing, something Jo can readily see.

For Luke, changes have been incremental over his six-month RISE journey, slowly stacking as he acclimates to Selby & explores his options for the future. He’s taking things “day by day”, making better choices, and building a stronger foundation for himself – all with the help of Jo and the Foundation UK team:

“Rise has been a great support for me, just meeting with my support worker and having someone to talk to.  We have been for regular wellbeing walks together and Jo has supported with job search and applying for college courses.’’


A huge thank you to Luke for sharing his story and to his Keyworker, Jo- for offering such dedicated support on RISE.

Our RISE programme has now sadly come to end, but we’ve recently launched two new programmes, Rise2Thrive (York & North Yorkshire) & SHINE (East Riding). You can head to their pages, or email [email protected] and [email protected] for further information. 

Laura Sandiford

Post by Laura Sandiford

Impact Coordinator

A keen storyteller & collaborator, Laura works alongside Hannah as the Impact Coordinator, where she measures and highlights the impact of Better Connect across its business, programmes, and partnerships. She does so by working with a range of people to gather information and stories, which she then translates into engaging content across Better Connect’s channels.

Building relationships and networks is a large part of Laura’s role, alongside ensuring the ‘’Better Connect story’’ is woven throughout all communications.

Laura’s favourite part of the role is connecting with the faces behind the case studies and giving voice to their experiences.

Learn more about Laura