“SPEAR picked me up when everyone else seemed to have given up on me.”
– David’s Story, Age 18
I’d been aware of SPEAR, as I lived next door to one of the hostels. However, I never knew I’d be needing their help.
At school, I always had trouble reading and writing and felt embarrassed; worried people would find out. Some of the ways I tried to cope with these problems made things worse, not better. When it came to GCSE’s, I was dealing with my father dying and dropped out of school. As my Dad was my main support, I never sat any GCSE’s.
When I was evicted from my flat, I didn’t know what to do. Being 17 and living alone I didn’t have the ability to maintain a tenancy. I certainly wasn’t ready to face life on the street and I was scared to ask for help.
When SPEAR housed me, it was hard at first living with others, as I have always been a bit of a loner. In the first few weeks at SPEAR’s Hostel for young people, I spent much of my time in my room. I’d only use the kitchen and bathroom when I was absolutely certain no one else was around. But the hostel workers, didn’t let me wallow. They’d chat to me through the door and leave me bacon butties and mugs of tea (even if they did forget the sugar).
I was finally able to talk to the SPEAR Hostel Workers about school and the recent loss of my Dad and they understood. Knowing I’m not great with classroom situations, they found a SPEAR volunteer to visit and tutor me ‘one to one’ each week. This was amazing and really brought me on, so I agreed to sign up to courses.
I passed a CSCS (health & safety test) for a building site and then I started Level 1 Diploma in plumbing. I was quickly moved up to Level 2 and achieved 76 out of 77 – I couldn’t really believe this. My literacy improved rapidly and for the first time in my life, I actually felt I could consider a job; a future. I wished I could have told my Dad, as he would have been very proud. But knowing SPEAR was there, meant a lot.
I’m told by my Hostel Workers that a lot of the support to people like me, comes from people like you. Either practically, like the volunteer who helped me read and write, or financially through donations. If it wasn’t for SPEAR, I am not sure where I would be now – probably living on the streets and in a bad crowd. SPEAR picked me up when everyone else seemed to have given up on me. I have a goal now of being a plumber and my teacher thinks I will do well.
Christmas without my Dad is always hard for me. But SPEAR have tried to be a family to me, and help me face my future. I’m not the only one you’ve helped, so please spare a few minutes to read the brochure and make a Christmas donation if you can. Or think about giving for the longer term – there are many more like me, waiting for help too. That’s why I agreed to write this letter to you. If this letter can also make a small difference to others too, then it is worth telling my story.
Next year is the 30th year of SPEAR. Please, please continue to support SPEAR and don’t give up on people like me.