The issue of homelessness is more topical than ever, with shocking figures released by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism earlier this year evidencing that over 440 homeless people have died in the last twelve months. We are still working with this client group in our area and partnering with others who are doing the same. Christmas can be a tough time for many and as a project we rarely have time to reflect on the true joy of Christmas at this busy time. As a final overview of the year now past here are a few personal stories of the clients we’ve supported this year:-
Male X is receiving on-going support from us, he struggles with mental and physical health. We have had to support him in many different ways including GP liaison, CPN and psychiatrist advocacy, mortgage and financial support and benefit advocacy. Major safety and maintenance work had to be carried out on his home, we have also witnessed the kindness and generosity of others in his regard as the contracted company met him and just like our very own DIY SOS they completed all the work without charge. This was many hundreds of pounds of work, WOW!!!!
Male Y is retired – at time he should be enjoying life, however, he is mentally unwell and saw no reason for his existence and in his words was just waiting to die. He was badly neglecting himself and his home. We spent time helping him clear up, cleaning and rearranging his home to make it a nice place to live as it was so out of control that he was only living in one room. Over the time we spent with him he did take on the majority of the tasks in his development plan and was getting out more to relieve isolation. He began to feel more motivated to do more around the house, which was indeed a step forward.
His quality of life has totally transformed and he has a new outlook on life which has bought this man that was waiting to die back to fullness of life, he has also found companionship and a purpose in volunteering. Truly amazing.
We have supported Male Z for a long time, he is a courageous young man who was struggling with drugs and alcohol. This young man is doing so, so well and now has a firm belief that there is hope and he is not forever lost. He once believed there was no hope and his life reflected this along with his many bad experiences. There is a lot at stake but life is now moving in the right direction and is becoming a sign of hope for him and those he cares about the most.
We have been supporting a young woman who was a student but could no longer continue due to poor mental and emotional health. We are working with her to help her understand herself and the situations she faces, to be able to regulate her emotions and the way things have and continue to affect her. It is early days but she is really starting to gain an understanding of the truth that has eluded her and the lies that have taken root within her. This has been a major break through so we are looking forward to her continued growth in 2019.
YOUNG PERSON B
Young person B was a referral from the Adolescent Response Team as well as Social Services. This young person was causing concern but they felt they had come as far as they could with them with no movement forward for some time. With a history of violence this young person had been forced to move around a lot. Young person B is a wonderful but very angry 16 year old who has no time for anyone and is no respecter of persons and is not intimidated by or afraid of anyone either. In their words “they can only kill me”. Young person B is showing great progress and is continuing to engage which is great. The levels of violence which were about to lead to serious trouble have abated and the mindset is changing. If we can prevent this young person from heading down the same path as some of the older clients we have, that would be amazing.
A long time coming, is a phrase used by so many waiting in eager anticipation for something good. One of the men we have supported over many years used this phrase in reference to his daughter whom he had not seen for a long time . Both he and his daughter’s mother have had different struggles in life which compounded their difficulties.
We have been able to work with this situation and we are happy to say that during the year he had his first contact with his daughter at the project; he was very scared and anxious. One of the volunteers has been instrumental in making this happen and has spent many hours with this man and spoke on his behalf over many months. Another volunteer with experience in this area supervised the contact as well as acting as a go between with his daughter’s mother and grandmother. There is another visit planned in the new year.
We received a call from a concerned mum who attends another local Toddlers session. She had been talking to another mum who was struggling in a number of ways, one of which was keeping her flat warm for herself and her 12 month old baby. As she is spending so much to try and keep the flat warm, it is leaving very little for everything else. We have been able to contact the council to get them to acknowledge the desperate need of this young mum. The council are now also looking to move her to a more suitable property.
Male E’s life was turned upside down by alcohol and a jail sentence. When he was released from prison his addiction consumed his life leaving him struggling for 20 years in a hole of deep despair that he had not hit the bottom of. He engaged with us several years ago and over that time continued to struggle leaving massive issues and trouble in his wake. It had come to a turning point where we had to let go of him and allow him the space to make up his mind what he wanted. In this period of time things got so so much worse and eventually he did reach rock bottom. This is the point at which he re-engaged and started to fight for a better life.
This man is now in work for the first time in over 20 years, owns his first car and even better news is that he’s now at the stage where he can draw on his own experiences to help us support a young man who is also struggling with alcohol and drugs. Male E was just what this young man needed and as a result is growing a resistance to the constant pull of addiction. Both still have a way to go but this is definitely the best way forward for both of them, we know fighting together with one with more experience is inspiring in light and dark times.
Thank you everyone for supporting our work in 2018 and here’s to the amazing individuals who have become part of our own special story.
May you all have a blessed Christmas and Best Wishes for 2019.