Darren's Story

“All these charities working together have pulled me back from the brink.”

When Darren came out of prison at the end of January 2018, he had nowhere to go. He ended up sleeping rough behind a shop on Southend High Street.

“If it wasn’t for the churches and the charities that support people like me, I’d probably be six foot under.”

After sleeping rough for three nights, Darren was so relieved to be referred to the Churches Winter Night Shelters.

“Going from sleeping rough to staying in the churches - there is no comparison. I never had full support from my family - so the churches were my family.”

Darren has a history of mental health issues, addiction, and self-harm. After a childhood riddled with abuse, he has self-medicated for many years. But now, with support, he’s making great strides forward.

“Between all the support, I’ve managed to keep my abstinence going, attending groups, and making sure I stay accommodated.The volunteers are so supportive - they help you with everything and they give you tips and pointers in the right direction.”

Darren is now living in HARP supported accommodation, and is a well-liked, popular member of the household.

“I want to keep the stability I’ve got, the sobriety I’ve got, and keep myself out of trouble! I’m trying to be in the moment - you can’t change the past but you can have a say in your future. This is what I’m concentrating on now.”

Read more about the Impact of the Southend Churches Winter Night Shelters partnership.

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