Jim (name changed to protect identity) ran a business in London before he was affected by the financial crash in 2008. Shortly after, his father died and his stepmother became unwell, so Jim offered to care for her full time. When she passed away, he had to leave the property they had shared. Without any money or accommodation, he moved to a tent in Richmond: something totally outside his experience.
Asking for help was difficult, but being homeless was such a shock that I had no choice. I was astonished by the number of total strangers who offered me help and support to get me back on my feet. Without SPEAR I cannot imagine where I would be now.
Jim would visit SPEAR’s Twickenham Hub for food and clothes. With the help of the Outreach Team, he found a new private property. Karen from the Skills Development team got to know Jim during his regular visits to the Hub. She suggested he take part in volunteering to occupy his time and improve his wellbeing. He decided to take a Peer Mentoring course, which he enjoyed immensely and he became an active member of the SPEAR Service User group. With more confidence, Jim started looking for work again. Jim wanted a change of direction and a more rewarding career so, in 2018, he started a 12-month trainee project worker position at SPEAR’s Complex Needs hostel in Richmond. He continued to volunteer regularly for SPEAR, supporting awareness raising and speaking in schools, churches and companies about his life. His experiences led him to apply, successfully, for a role in SPEAR’s Fundraising team.
It gives me enormous satisfaction to think my efforts are helping others in a small way.