We believe that poverty and homelessness cannot truly be solved without listening to the experiences of people living it, putting them at the heart of our work when we are designing new services.

Lived experience is key to designing compassionate and effective services that tackle the root causes of poverty and homelessness. Listening and collaboration is the only way forward in understanding the issues.


Therefore, we evidence our work by documenting stories of recovery and transition. These stories are not our stories, but we are proud to be part of them, they are a testament to the people behind them, who have come through traumatic and challenging times to build a better future. 

Abbie’s Story 

Abbie is 18 years old and transgender, they came through to our service from the Pathfinder project. Abbie was sofa surfing due to strained family relationships and they struggling to come to terms with Abbie’s transgender identity. 


Abbie was unemployed and no longer able to sofa surf with her friends. She had already built up a strong relationship with a Pathfinder contact and trusted person, but it took time to create another trusted relationship with the supported accommodation team at The Brick. Her pathfinder worker visited regularly at first to support with the transition. 


Abbie had elevated levels of anxiety and was concerned about how other residents would react to her being transgender. She had few friends and wanted to settle in an area, following years of turbulence and constant relocating. She wanted to focus on her goal of studying at university. We supported her to enrol in university and apply for student loans and she was accepted into the University of Salford, Media City and started in Sep 2022. Abbie engaged well at university and completing film projects and script writing assignments and meeting producers from Tiger Aspect production company for advice in media and production. 


Abbie is incredibly open and honest now about her mental health, on both her bad days and good days and recognises how to cope. She is proud of what she has achieved in the past 6 months. She is hoping to move in with other students for year 2 of her studies and is looking forward to the future.  

David’s Story 

David is originally from Southampton. After a marriage breakdown in 2021 with his wife who he’d been the long-term carer for and losing his job in hospitality due to covid, he found himself homeless. His son accommodated him for a short while, but that came to an end. He suffered an emotional breakdown and took a train to Glasgow where he had arranged to stay with friends, but this fell through, and he found himself stranded in Glasgow. He got the next train and ended up in Wigan. 


David was taken in by strangers who offered to help him and offered a sofa to sleep on, but they financially abused him, gaining his Universal Credit payments. In November 2021, our outreach team verified him rough sleeping. He was accommodated at our ABEN night shelter. Due to his lack of local connection, he couldn’t access the housing register. He started feeling depressed and useless. 


He was referred into our supported accommodation and accepted. We agreed key support areas were creating plans for the future, supporting with mental health and self-worth and reintroducing structure to his life. 


He started by volunteering in our retail stores, moved onto completing a PAT testing course. He went onto securing part-time work at Leigh sports village and his self-worth and confidence were beginning to grow again. 


Our support staff encouraged David to write again as he had some short stories published in the past, he was eager to show his works. He gained confidence in applying for job roles and took the decision to look further afield for work. After a successful zoom interview with a hotel with live in opportunities, David started a full-time job in the Lake District and is looking forward to the next chapter in his life.  

Helen’s Story 

Helen has been accessing The Brick’s homeless provisions for several years and has a history of mental health challenges and addiction. This has usually resulted in the loss of her accommodation, leading to her coming back to our homeless shelters.Helen enjoys art so she was encouraged to engage with our mentors. She has continued to work with them after she has moved on from the homeless shelter, into supported accommodation.
Helen was recently hospitalised due to her mental health and whilst she was in the hospital, Brick staff visited her and gave her flowers and a card. She said this was the first time she’s received flowers and that their support made all the difference to a positive recovery.
Helen enjoyed working on a reuse project making a cuckoo clock into a birdhouse. She continued to come to the Brickworks training provision as part of her reintegration back to a full structure of activities. Our mentors continued to work with Helen at her own pace and she managed to maintain her accommodation with our support, breaking the cycle of becoming homeless.

She has now moved onto more specialist supported accommodation and has a brighter future to look forward to.

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