A chance encounter with Psychology lecturer Jacqui Harrison has led to a brand new future for former homeless man Sean Proudman.
Sean, from Bolton, met Jacqui outside the town’s train station where he was selling his art work to make a living.
A conversation began and, looking at his work, Jacqui recognised Sean had creative talent. ‘I could also tell Sean was articulate and seemed very genuine. I asked my husband, Stuart, to meet Sean and after a long chat over breakfast, Stuart agreed we should help. He asked Sean what would help him more and Sean thought arts materials, which we were happy to buy.
‘By an amazing coincidence, one of our students saw Sean’s artwork and got in touch with the Bolton News who featured his artwork.’
Jacqui and Stuart continued to see Sean and encourage his talent. Now Sean is starting a Foundation degree in Art and Design, having been interviewed for a place on a course beginning in September.
Added Jacqui: ‘I have worked with the University for nine years and it is our ability to make something like this happen which sets us apart and makes me so proud. We can look beyond circumstances, see the talent and work with that individual to help build better lives.’
Said Sean: ‘It’s amazing to see how my life has turned in a new months. I became homeless after my housing benefit stopped and I couldn’t afford my rent. I grew up in care and like a lot of people from that background, I had no one to go to when the worst happened.
‘People who I thought were my friends turned out not to be. People who I didn’t know then have proved to be such good friends now. And I have so much to look forward to – starting a Foundation degree in September and looking to study beyond that.’
You can watch Sean and Jacqui on BBC North West Tonight which begins 20 minutes in, here but be quick – NWT has a quick turnaround on local TV news.
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