Lara’s story


Lara was introduced to SPEAR after successfully completing a twelve-steps course in order to overcome addiction.

“As soon as I joined SPEAR, the charity was so supportive and helpful.”

After being supported into housing, Lara started the Peer Mentoring Course.

“SPEAR really helped me get through that transitional period, and now I am able to see things much clearer. Today, I feel more positive about my future and that’s why I want to give back to clients who are currently in a similar position that I once was in.”

“At the beginning of the course, we were taught about SPEAR’s policies, what the charity does, its purpose and mission, and the positive change it can bring to clients. We were then taught the different skills needed for mentoring. For example, I learnt about the importance of safeguarding and how to control my own behaviour and feelings around my clients.

We were also taught how to help our clients express and understand their emotions. This included learning to listen to somebody, not just to their words but also tuning into body language. In turn, this really helps us to understand the client better and enables them to express those emotions out loud so they can work through them.”

After completing the initial training in 2019, Lara wanted to ‘give back’. She worked as a Peer Mentor for a couple of years and explain that her previous experience with homelessness helped her excel within her role as she could empathise with clients who have been through similar hardships.

She recalls supporting one particular client during her time as a Peer Mentor:

“The programme is designed to help clients with various activities, such as writing a CV, managing money, and doing online shopping. For instance, I have helped one particular client enrol in an English learning course. At the start, he couldn’t speak English very well. The client borrowed a laptop and we downloaded an English language app so that he would be able to practise. His confidence has really developed as a result and he is very excited to start college this year which is amazing! Seeing these kinds of results, and the impact that my own actions are bringing to various individuals, is why I love what I do.

I really love being a mentor because I can see my clients becoming more confident every single week. I feel very proud of my clients and what they are able to achieve. Equally, I am also proud of myself, and how far I’ve come on my journey to be able to help others go through what I previously have.”

Lara became a full time Tenancy Support Worker at SPEAR.

Other stories...

Igor’s story

Our Outreach team have been supporting Igor, aged 33, who was found sleeping rough in Richmond.

Daniella’s story

At only 22, Daniella was approached by our Outreach team while sleeping rough. She had been sofa surfing during her last year at university, where she studied English literature. After joining SPEAR’s peer mentoring programme, the Springboard project supported Daniella to take a Level 3 Education and Training course. She now works for a charity as a career specialist to support young people who have been through the care system to receive training and employment and rents her own flat.

Ashley’s story

Ashley first experienced homelessness at the young age of 16 due to a family breakdown before finding work with accommodation. Just over 18, he lost his job and was pushed into homelessness again. He spent a few months sofa surfing before having to sleep rough.

Andy’s story

Andy experienced homelessness when, under complex circumstances, he could not access his home or tools. After losing everything and several months on the streets, Andy’s mental health worsened. After coming into contact with SPEAR, Andy was assigned a case worker who supported him to find accommodation and get involved with the local community.