“They don’t make you jump through a hoops– if you’re homeless, or in need, you’re welcome.”

About 14 months ago I was made homeless because I had to leave my shared accommodation in Chester due to violence and drugs. That’s not what I want, I grew up in care and at 16 I was in and out of hostels, until I got put in shared accommodation, which I loved.  I lived there for a year until new people moved in that were dealing drugs.  It was my first home and I wanted it to be right and with those people moving in it felt like my whole world was tipped upside down.  I just had to leave.  My pride and joy was turned into a squat and I was devastated, I hadn’t a clue where to go.

I got on a train and Shrewsbury was the last stop on the train and I got off and saw the sign for the Ark and was told it was a drop in centre.  During my time in Shrewsbury, I’ve had support from the Ark for the whole time.  We’ve had some ups and downs, but they provide anyone that’s suffering from poverty, mental health problems or whatever, with a nice warm haven for warm food and drink – even Christmas day.  Only a couple of the staff are paid, the others are just here because they want to be – they have genuine feelings for homeless people.

Each person that volunteers, even if it’s just once a month, they all bring something, their own thing, their personality the way they are with people, the way they talk, their knowledge.  I’ve been to other day centres and this place is different.  Some places you’re only allowed to stay or have a meal if you sign up to certain programmes etc. But if you’re homeless and tired you might not be able to focus on things like that but you still need food, this place isn’t like that, they don’t make you jump through a hoops– if you’re homeless, or in need, you’re welcome.

I don’t have any family or support network, other than what I found when I stumbled in here.  I’m currently in emergency accommodation above a pub in Whitchurch which isn’t great and I come here most days to have a decent meal and talk to people.  I would like to move into some permanent accommodation, not a hostel.  I believe everyone deserves a second chance or a third or even a forth! I want to do right and do everything for myself and give back.