Note that all names have been changed to protect the people involved.
Graham’s story 2011/12
Graham came into the night shelter early on in our first season and was untypical of our average guest in many ways. Graham was highly articulate and very well educated having spent some time teaching English in China. When Graham returned to England he found difficulty in re-entering the teaching profession, or gaining other suitable employment, and eventually became homeless having exhausted his savings on B&B accommodation. As Graham was of a more mature age, he found great difficulty in dealing with life on the streets and the WNS literally offered Graham a lifeline.
Fortunately, by the time the night shelter closed Graham had been found suitable accommodation and he began to rebuild his life.
I unexpectedly met Graham in the town centre about 6 months ago and over a coffee he told me how important the night shelter had been at that very vulnerable point in his life.
Following that encounter Graham has remained in contact and has joined us regularly at our Sunday evening church service. One evening he told his story to the church and explained that the night shelter had literally been a life saver to him. He had actively considered checking out of this life before he discovered that there might be a purpose to his life after all.
George’s story 2012/13
George was perhaps more typical of our average guest invited into the night shelter, being early middle-aged and suffering from long term alcoholism which had also led him into depression. In fact George was a caring family man with a daughter and grandchildren who he doted on. Unfortunately, due to his lifestyle, he could only see his grandchildren at weekends and then only by appointment. During his stay with us he would often arrange to stay over at his daughters for the odd night at weekends until this became a more regular occurrence. Unfortunately, during the week he would sometimes return to heavy bouts of drinking and this would sometimes preclude him from coming in to us. However, once the night shelter had closed George agreed to go into rehab for several months as he desperately wanted to restore his relationship with his family. He has now completed his rehab and returned to Eastbourne where he has secured a flat in the Old Town and is living independently. He has recently met a new partner and is beginning to discover the benefits of a life which is not alcohol dependent. Now he is eager to find employment again and pay his own way in society.
Ioana’s story 2013/14
Ioana is from Romania and discovered the night shelter through meeting the Street Pastors who were concerned for her safety and contacted us. It was clear from when we first met Ioana that she is a very well educated lady who simply wanted to make her own way through working. Unfortunately, she had a bad experience with her previous employer/agency where she was provided live-in accommodation and found herself street homeless and no idea how she would cope. Ioana spent most of her energy seeking employment and would travel wherever necessary to go to interviews. She was very adept at board games, notably scrabble, and was the night shelter champion winning against everyone who played her.
She was very appreciative for all the help and support she was given and amazingly a few days before the shelter closed she was successful at finding work with live-in accommodation. She is now working in a care home and speaks very fondly about how she enjoys helping her patients and playing scrabble with some of them!