08/09/16

Peter accessed The Wallich hostel St Leonard’s earlier this year in Swansea that provides accommodation and support for men who are leading an abstinence-based lifestyle.

Residents are supported to gain independent living skills before moving on to more permanent housing.

Here’s his story:

“I was living in Birmingham and become homeless due to a situation where I had developed an alcohol problem, lost my job and moved away from a violent relationship. I decided to get away from Birmingham as I didn’t feel safe there and come to Swansea.

I knew I needed a fresh start and to feel safe.

During January and February this year I rough slept in Swansea down by the beach and in the city centre. It was all quite a scary situation for me as I had felt so secure in my career as a support worker (with male victims of domestic abuse, and with drug treatment services) and I thought I had a pretty decent life, until it all came crumbling down around me.

There was an added element of embarrassment in accessing support in a city where I had worked in support services for 15 years, everyone knew me professionally, so didn’t know where to turn.

St Leonard’s

Visiting St Leonard’s in February was such a relief, I had been asked to attend an interview for accommodation, and from the moment the staff answered the door, I felt as though someone cared.

They helped so much when I first moved in with the day to day stuff of sorting out benefits, GP appointments, food and introducing me to the rest of the guys I was sharing the house with, so that I didn’t become isolated or felt awkward in the project.

The staff supported me to meet with the local homeless community psychiatric nurse to get help with my depression and get back onto my medication, which I had stopped taking when I became homeless.

In my support plan, we looked at short term and long term goals and worked through rebuilding my confidence and staff supported me to access voluntary work to aid this, get involved with activities and house meetings and they were ALWAYS there to listen, encourage and challenge me when needed.

I can honestly say that I don’t know how things would have worked out if I hadn’t gotten into the project, it really changed my life around with some great support from my support worker who was exceptional to say the least. He was aware of previous issues with self-harm and suicide attempts and even put a plan in place to check on my wellbeing without it being intrusive – he has such a heart.

Plans

I have recently moved into a private rented flat with a friend from Church and am volunteering three days a week with a drop in service in Swansea. I am now studying and applying for work in the support sector, which I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do six months ago.

I have recently come off my anti-depressants and am doing really well and I’m six months sober too, which I mark as quite an achievement in my life!

I am studying Theology, with an aspiration to full time ministry work at some point in the future. I’m helping with various projects around Swansea, and moving forward in such a positive way now. All thanks to the support at The Wallich.

I want to thank the entire staff at The Wallich for having the heart, the passion and the drive for helping the people you do”.