Simon is a regular volunteer at Newbury House, a scheme supported by Church Housing Trust for homeless people with alcohol dependency problems.
He has a past of drug and alcohol abuse, but in 2012 decided to turn his life around. He attended a Bridging the Gap course, which helps individuals to recover from substance misuse problems.
He showed an amazing ability to support others, and passed the course with great results. He moved on to peer mentoring, and took a Level 3 NVQ in Advice and Guidance, which he also passed with flying colours.
Simon now runs groups at Newbury House to help residents there explore and overcome their addictions by putting coping strategies in place and remaining abstinent.
He also helps group members improve their self-esteem, health and well-being, and works with them to arrange social visits to local museums and events.
Our funding means that Simon, and two other volunteers who work as occupational therapists, are able to travel to the scheme and keep the project going.
Simon comments that “It’s a real boost to obtain this support and funding towards our travel. I can travel to the project three times a week and it enables me to carry on supporting the work of Newbury House and enabling the customers to remain abstinent and make better choices in their lives.”
His success has allowed him to take on more and more responsibilities, working as Project Assistant for the recovery groups, and alongside staff at the scheme to cover administration and reception duties.
A great deal of effort is put into projects by their volunteers, who are often former residents of the scheme, or have lived experience of the problems they are helping others to get through.
As well as supporting regular staff to give individuals the best chance they can have at recovering, they will gain valuable work experience towards a career, which can be extremely difficult to get if you have been homeless.