Part of Queens Hall Action on Poverty, The Food Community, 65 Water St, Wigan WN1 1XD Company Number 08503176. Charity Number 1153055 © 2023 The Brick. Website by ATTAIN
CREDIT: Centre for Homelessness Impact / Liam McBurney/PA
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 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 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.
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