By Yousif Farah
It is amazing news that the Big Issue online journalists have secured funding for a further two courses, thanks to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund.
As a former trainee I am pleased the course will carry on opening its doors to more budding journalists like myself, who have been homelessness, marginalised, suffered from depression, or been long term unemployed.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Big Issue online journalism course re-union, that was attended by some of my former classmates and trainees from the other 3 courses. The reunion was aimed at reviewing the progress of the trainees, addressing any obstacles they may be facing and structuring a future plan for each trainee.
Having suffered from both depression and anxiety I understand how difficult it is to turn the tables round and start a new chapter in ones life. It requires willpower and determination and above all it requires the right mentoring and support. That is why for me the meeting was exciting and informative, but also inspirational, as I was exposed to shining examples of personal triumphs. These give me hope for the future and a feeling of relief and reassurance, knowing that I am not embarking on this journey on my own.
At the reunion I learnt that since completing the course Anil has seen his dreams materialise into reality by launching a bike hire business; Danielle has regained her confidence to be a successful journalist once again, Chris is working as a successful freelance filmmaker and Sam has joined the NUJ and interviewed household names such as Russell Brand and Caroline Lucas MP. To name just a few of the great stories.
Personally, since completing the course I feel like a different person, as the depression is fading away and for me the experience was life altering, to say the least! I am currently volunteering as a Press Officer with Poached Creative, freelancing for an art magazine called Homeless Diamonds and feel very optimistic about the future. All Praise to Poached Creative, The Big Issue and everyone involved in this project!
To see how the Big Issue online journalism course has helped transform the lives of other disadvantaged London residents visit the Trainee Case Studies page
The Dispossessed Fund makes a positive impact on the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged people, by providing grants to grass root charities and voluntary groups in London. To find out more about the Dispossessed Fund visit their website