Andy became homeless just over 12 months ago. During this difficult time, he suffered a mental health breakdown, which meant he couldn’t carry on working and he was signed off on Employment and Support Allowance. At the time, there were many changes being made to the benefits system. Unfortunately, this led to him being sanctioned and as a result, he lost his flat.

Barnabus was there to support Andy, initially finding him temporary accommodation. It was during this time that he made the decision to give something back to us. He started on our Buddy Volunteer Scheme, helping out at our Drop-in Centre and encouraging others who were going through similar ordeals. Andy explains: “I wanted to show gratitude for what Barnabus had given me and I enjoy volunteering – it’s like being part of an extended family”.

As well as being a valued member of our volunteer team, Andy also passed his Hairdressing Academy Training ‘Skullfades Foundation’ course at Barnabus, taught by professional Barber Ged Brian King. Without the help of Barnabus, Andy believes he would still be on the streets, or perhaps not around to tell his story.

He says: “Hairdressing is something I never thought I’d be able to do. I now cut hair for the men coming into the Drop-in and I can talk to them about how Barnabus has helped me and can help them too. I’m not quite mentally strong enough to go back to work yet, but I do want to get back into construction when I’m ready. I am so happy in my flat and Barnabus has given me a more positive outlook on my life and I feel more secure knowing that support is there. I wanted to share my story to show that someone on the street can succeed; it’s been a struggle, it’s been hard, but I’m now able to do something positive by helping others”.