Bob came to the project after being made homeless when his live in job ended after the place was closed overnight. He was in his 50's and had been in the Army for many years. He was sleeping rough in Hyde Park and came to us for help. He arrived at the project, came in through the door and burst into tears. He asked if he could have a shower. We gave him access to the shower, a clean towel and all the toiletries he needed. We asked how else we might help him. Bob was a very proud man and at first refused anything else, he said "I just need to get clean." He was carrying a rucksack full of dirty clothes, so we asked if we could wash and dry them for him. We gave him clothes that we had from our store so he had something clean to put on when he had finished showering. We also gave him food and a hot drink. Through this we gained his trust and helped to restore his dignity, by meeting his basic needs for two weeks. During this time we worked with him to get his army pension unlocked. Bob had a dream. He wanted to buy a camper van and move to Portugal and try his luck at getting work there. On the third week Bob did not come back, he had tried to call us but we had missed his call. We hope he was calling to say he had his camper van and was off. Whilst we did not know the outcome, because the nature of our centre is a drop in, we hope that Bob made it to Portugal to live his dream.
Pavel is Eastern European from the Czech Republic. He is currently a rough sleeper and accesses the centre for the practical services we provide. We have got to know Pavel over the last few months. Pavel wants to work and get off the streets. However he had lost his passport and all his documents. By working with him in our 1-1 sessions and by using google translate we were able to make an appointment at the Czech Embassy for them to establish his identity. Once this process was complete we used our small Hardship Fund to buy him passport photos and pay for the Embassy to issue him a new passport. He has this now and is actively using our IT suite to search and apply for jobs. Staff and volunteers help Pavel when required, in his search for jobs and with applications. Pavel is an accomplished chef. He hopes to to get a job soon so he can save up his earnings to secure accommodation.
Florence has been coming to the centre for 9 years. She is in her early 50's and lacks confidence as she has suffered from mental ill health for much all her life. She has a diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia and was referred to us by her CPN and Psychiatrist. When we started a knitting and sewing group to make blankets for our Service Users, we approached Florence and asked whether she would like to join the group. At first she said no as she did not think she could knit. A staff member encouraged her and taught her how to cast on and off. Florence then reported she had found a manual at home on knitting and was reading it. 10 days later Florence came back to the project. She had a bag with her. As she took out 20 perfectly formed 20cm by 20cm squares, her face lit up as she said "I feel so happy as I have achieved something." She then joined our weekly knitting and sewing group where our Service Users knit or sew squares together to make the blankets. Through this we have been able to have time to get to know her and other Service Users better through much deeper conversation, outside of the normal drop in. Florence has knitted 200 squares, which is equivalent to over 4 complete blankets which we have distributed to service users.
Fred is a 54 year old British man. When he came to the Project he was suffering from isolation, his mental health was poor and he was also addicted to drugs. Fred comes to the project for structure and says it improves his mental health. He has also completed our IT Course. Fred says: "Before I started the computer class I was frightened to use a PC and thought I would make mistakes. I suffer from literacy issues and dyslexia and was not able to use a keyboard. I am now able to use a tablet and a smart phone and access the internet. I am now confident in using technology, I am on Facebook and able to keep in contact with my family via SKYPE as they live abroad. This means I am able to see my sister, the first time I burst into tears, but I am now connected to them and am very happy."