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My life drastically changed for the better when I walked into HARP

“I was sleeping on the seafront with just my two bags, my clothes and my medication. I was using every day for about three and half years then went cold turkey."

Before becoming homeless Eddie had worked as a chef for 15 years. "I used to go out at weekends socialising with colleagues and taking drugs very occasionally. It went wrong for me when lockdown hit. I went from working 60 hours plus a week to doing nothing. I was lonely and my mental health was suffering. I had no sense of purpose so in the end I began misusing substances but slowly this got out of control until eventually I was using drugs every day.

When returning to work after lockdown, I was still using drugs but only outside of work. One day, drugs were found in my flat. As a result, I lost my job which in turn meant I lost my home. I was left with no job, no home, no nothing.”

Eddie is diabetic and needs regular injections of insulin and to keep his medication refrigerated, something that wasn’t possible when sleeping on the streets.

“The first few days sleeping rough were the hardest. No money, no food and no friends. Who I thought were friends didn’t want to help, which makes you realise who your real friends are.

As I couldn’t keep my insulin in a fridge, I couldn’t use it. My diabetes went really bad.”

“What happened to me could easily happen to many people who live hand to mouth with little savings.”

Nine months on, Eddie has a roof over his head and a part-time job in catering at HARP.

“It brought me to tears. A random person just come and give you something, but people who have known you for years turn their back on you. It makes a big difference.”

Eddie spent 14 days sleeping rough before he was directed to HARP.

With HARP’s support, Eddie was given a room in a hostel and a fridge to keep his insulin. He started to follow HARP on social media and saw an advert for a volunteer to make breakfasts at the HARP Bradbury Centre. He began volunteering his time twice a week.

“They gave me two shifts at first and gradually I took on more and more as I really enjoyed it.”

HARP staff were so impressed with not only Eddie’s skills but his work ethic that when a vacancy came up for a part-time catering assistant position Eddie was encouraged to apply. He was successful in his application, and he now works for HARP and is rebuilding his life.

“My life has drastically changed for the better since I walked into HARP. I’m not sure where I’d be today if I hadn’t been referred to them.”

Every year, HARP support around 1,000 local people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their home. Your donation will help us make Christmas a special time for the people we work with, as well as to help us work with more people experiencing homelessness in 2024 and beyond.

Donations to our Christmas appeal will help us to provide care and support as well as meals, entertainment, activities to local homeless people over the Christmas period and beyond. All donations will be spent where we feel the need is greatest.


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