Andy’s spirit of giving back

Andy’s spirit of giving back

A successful self-employed builder, Andy was unfortunately a survivor of domestic violence and under complex circumstances he was not allowed to enter his home. With no access to his tools and home he could not continue to work and so became homeless.

Andy’s mental health worsened as he went through months of divorce proceedings and he even contemplated suicide.

Andy contacted SPEAR and was assigned a case worker who helped him look for accommodation. He became increasingly involved with activities at our Hub in Twickenham, attending the peer mentoring group sessions every week. He was amazed by the staff’s kindness and consideration:

From the moment I walked in I could just feel sense of warmth and how willing they were to help me, a stranger.

SPEAR found accommodation for Andy; at first an opening came up in one of our multiple occupancy residences where he stayed for several months. During that time he helped redecorate two of the rooms. More recently Andy qualified for one of our long-term independent flats.

With a passion to contribute and to “put something back in”, Andy is a regular and active volunteer. Over 18 months he has contributed an incredible 311 hours in total. Andy serves on the Service Involvement Group who meet to discuss ideas and put forward suggestions on how to improve client services. He also helps our clothing initiative by arranging the inventory to be ready for client pop-in sessions. Furthermore, Andy was part the event team that organised our two client Christmas parties in 2019 – he even dressed up as Santa! One of our emergency projects during the pandemic was setting up a food distribution network; Andy became an integral member delivering vital packages to people stuck at home self-isolating.

These are just some of many activities Andy engages in, he really is a member of the SPEAR family. As a show of gratitude for all his volunteering work, Andy was presented with a Fortnum & Mason hamper kindly donated by our corporate supporter Avantia.

Andy was recognised in the 2021 Mayor of Kingston’s Community Awards with a Covid Award for outstanding service to the Royal Borough during the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy was also featured in Global’s Make Some Noise 2020 Christmas campaign