Malek graduated from our 16th Employment Preparation Programme in 2020. Soon after, he secured work at Pophams Bakery  – an Employer Partner connected to the House via our membership community. But, when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down hospitality in March 2020, his job was temporarily put on hold.

Our Progression Team continued to support Malek during this time; he had been evicted from accommodation and had to find temporary accommodation during the pandemic. He also needed extra support with his benefits claims, council tax and housing costs. With hard work and persistence, Malek has now secured a flat which has given him security and peace.

Malek says that whilst he was on the Employment Preparation Programme, the workshops on mental health and mindfulness helped him manage his anxiety and anger and gave him the tools he needed to make a permanent change. The programme also offered him routine and structure and getting a healthy lunch each day helped with his focus. After the programme, Malek worked closely with his Progression Support Officer, Jig. Jig helped him secure stable accommodation and manage through his benefit claims whilst he was unable to work. Malek says: “If it wasn’t for the House of St Barnabas, I would of have given up a long time ago but having a secure job now, and a house, has had a real impact on my life both mentally and physically.”

Malek started working at the Islington branch of Pophams when they reopened for takeaways. He’s happy to have routine and structure back in his life. At Pophams, he says he’s part of a great team and is doing a job he’s passionate about.

His boss at Pophams, Ollie, says he’s been a really quick learner and it’s clear that he wants to succeed. Ollie says “We love his warmth, he’s always smiling and we’ve seen his confidence grow. He’s gelled with the team, and he’s excelling in a really busy work environment. The House of St Barnabas were really easy to deal with, but most importantly put someone forward who was passionate, willing to work and incredibly hard working. Malek as a candidate was and is perfect, we hope to help him grow in the future and be with us for some time to come.”

A couple of weeks ago, we got the news that Malek has passed his probation at Pophams – no small achievement after a massively challenging year.


We’re always looking for new Employer Partners. We’re looking for businesses that pay a minimum of London Living Wage, can offer secure hours, positive management support and opportunities for progression.

If you think this could be you or a business you know, get in touch with our Progression Manager, here.