“I’ve been there myself. I know first-hand what it’s like to go through.”

Sarah has been volunteering at HARP for a year and a half. She has been supporting residents at our Housing First property. The Housing First model means providing a stable home to people with complex issues so that they have the space and time that they need to recover and move away from homelessness permanently.

“A lot of the people here have issues with mental health, drug addiction and drink addiction. I’m here because I have been there myself. I know first-hand what it’s like to go through.”

Sarah first experienced homelessness at the age of four. In later life, she developed mental health problems and addiction.

“As a child, my dad and I went from home to home, bed and breakfast to bed and breakfast. We’d live in candle light because we didn’t have any electricity, we wouldn’t know where the next bit of food would come from. It seemed never ending.

“As I got older, things started to spiral. I ended up mentally ill. I also tried to find a route to escape from it, that’s why I went on to the drugs and the drink. But I’ve come out the other side now and I want to give back.”

“I know that the people living here can get there too, with enough people around you and with the right support, I know that anyone can.”

Sarah has experienced a number of challenges, but through accessing the right support she has been able to get her life back on track. As she began to feel stronger and more confident, it was suggested that she should try voluntary work.

“I was referred to HARP and it’s the best thing that could have happened.

“I help clean, cook and I help the residents wash their clothes. I try to encourage them to join in too, encourage them to do normal things. Try and make them realise that they are just as important as any other human being out there.

“That’s why I want to be here, so I can show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how difficult it might be to get there.

“Being here and helping others is what has helped me most of all. It’s what I live for now, trying to help anybody else in that same situation. Because, I know that you can do it. It’s just having that will power and support.

“It’s just absolutely amazing here, it’s brilliant. So rewarding.”

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