Thomas’s street dancing dream come true

JPCT-07-12-11 S11492779a charity Amber, Okley, Thomas (right) to be in Britain's got talent -photo by steve cobb
JPCT-07-12-11 S11492779a charity Amber, Okley, Thomas (right) to be in Britain's got talent -photo by steve cobb

A HOMELESSNESS charity based near Horsham has helped a street dancer achieve his dream of performing in front of a television audience.

Thomas Chapman, 22, had been homeless for two years when he came to the Amber Foundation in Ockley, two months ago.

In that time he has turned his life around and last week was one of hundreds of people who chosen to audition in London for the hit television show Britain’s Got Talent.

He said: “Not enough people know about this place. I have got more done in two months here that I have in my whole life. I’ve wanted to dance since I was nine.

“I don’t talk to my family. I lived in Scotland and then I came to England to a homeless shelter in Crawley and they referred me here.

“Amber pays for me to go to the Y-Pod dance studio once a week. I’ve danced in towns before and in front of friends, in Edinburgh, Crawley and London, but never in front of an real audience.

“For [Britain’s Got Talent] people are paying attention to me and that was my dream. We are one big family here and that’s the best thing about it.”

Thomas’s team leader, Mark Gillham, who was once an Amber resident himself, said: “We work with them to recognise their dreams and they move through three teams.

“Thomas is a really good street dancer with serious talent. I set him the task to learn some routines and he did it and then we suggested Britain’s Got Talent. We filled in the application about a week ago and thought nothing about it. Then two days ago we got a phone call.”

The Amber Foundation welcomes homeless and unemployed 17 to 30-year-olds who are willing to change their lives for the better

PR and fundraising director Sue Crawford-Condie said: “Young people come and stay with us as long as it takes to move on to work or college.

“It’s our aim to get them into work and to be able to sustain their own accommodation. While they are with us we build them up, motivate them, work on their social skills and their self esteem.

“This is their home and they are fully supported 24/7. Each day will be structured, they get up early each morning, work in teams and they are responsible for cooking in their houses.

“We introduce them to art, drama, community work. Whatever opportunity comes along we will do it to build up their confidence and broaden their horizons.

“Goals are really powerful. It could be that someone’s got a dream to get a job on a cruise ship, but their literacy skills are poor.

“One of the goals will be to do a literacy exam, but they are always focusing on that end goal and that is what motivates them.”

For more information about the Amber Foundation go to www.amberweb.org or to give a donation call community fundraiser Rachel Bartlett on 01306 627924.