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  • Info OFS

There Is Hope

I've been involved with LEAF right from the beginning, right since we all sat down, about ten of us, in Little Clarendon Street. My role is about helping and nurturing the other members, getting them information and trying to make services better for the homeless. I've been through the homeless system. Not many people that you work with in these services understand, because they've probably got homes and jobs and that. It’s good to put my view on homelessness, to pass on my experience. I feel valued.

I didn't think that helping others would also help me. But in the two years that LEAF has been going, it's benefited me a lot. I’m more confident speaking to people in authority. I'm more confident to say how I feel and to raise opinions. And if I don’t agree with something, I’m better at saying so. In the past I would have buried my head in the sand. I'm 54 and like no one's listened to me before. But with LEAF, don't matter whether I'm saying something stupid, the other members listen to me. If I say something wrong, they tell me back. And I learn from it. They're always steering me in a good way. It's a sense of responsibility.

If I've got problems, I've got all the other members and staff to talk to. I think that's how my confidence has grown – being able to ask for help when it's needed, and not just shutting myself away. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. Before I joined LEAF, I thought it was. I wanted to do everything on my own, but it got too much for me. I realised that by going to meetings and sharing. There’s the Women's Group on a Thursday, 11:00 to 1:00. Plus, there’s lots of different activities too. If I didn't have LEAF to go to, I'd only be sat at home. And then probably that would be worse because then my depression would start. Sometimes I still get depression, so my home life I just forget and don't bother doing anything. But then again, if any member asked me to do something with LEAF, I'd jump at the chance! If I'm kept busy, I don't think so much. And then my depression don't happen. Plus, I'm on medication.

My ideal job would be a support worker for the homeless. It took me four years to get my own property because I kept messing up. I never learnt from it back then. But I've been in my property now nine years in May. I know I gotta do things on my own. But then again, I'm not on my own. I've got LEAF members to ask if I need advice. And if I can do it, anybody can. When I was in Simon House I quit drinking. Some homeless people got addictions so it's harder. But there is hope. I want to show people that life can get better. It does get better. It's just if you choose to want it to get better.


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