Ashley first experienced homelessness at the young age of 16 due to a family breakdown before finding work with accommodation.
At 18, he lost his job and was pushed into homelessness again. He spent a few months sofa surfing before having to sleep rough.
Our Outreach teams found Ashley during the Covid-19 pandemic and supported him into our youth hostel where he was introduced to Springboard.
“I had to adjust to life on the streets. When SPEAR found me, I wasn’t too sure. I was always under the impression that I might not get helped but when I got my room I started to trust them more.
Springboard then helped me a lot and gave me confidence. I didn’t go out much before, I stayed in my own bubbled but they made me better at communicating with people and I feel more confident with people now.”
Ashley was supported by Springboard to attend college where he received a forklift license and get involved with the Springboard project to try different activities.
“Thorpe Park was the best, everyone was there with good vibes and everyone got along.
This sort of thing helps people come out of their sheds.”
The Springboard project also supported Ashley to get a skateboard thanks to the Active Richmond Fund:
“It’s amazing, it’s helped me get out more and helped me with my fitness.
It’s also really good for my mental health.
I was shocked that I got funding for my skateboard.
Skateboard is my pride and joy, I’ve done it my whole life. It’s helped me reconnect with old friends from the skateboarding community. I got my first board at 13 and from there just fell in love with the sport.
My key worker and I went down the skate shop. I bought separated parts and we built it together. I use it every day now, or every other day. This is the highlight with SPEAR, getting my skateboard, and my house!”
Now 26, Ashley has his own one bedroom flat in London and is looking for work.
“I didn’t think I would ever have my own place, it took me a couple of days to realise that it was mine.
I’m well happy, I’m making it my home and I have a TV.”