Huge steps for our friend

Andy* first came to Barnabus in 2015. He grew up in care and then became homeless, which he continued to be for over 10 years.

Sadly, he had never stayed in accommodation for very long. He has multiple complex needs and a history of not engaging well with support services. He would access Barnabus for basic needs and food, but wouldn’t stick around.

At first, this limited our ability to work with him. Yet now, Andy is making huge strides towards a fresh start. This is his story. 

A real turning point

Last year Andy had some trouble with his benefits, so he came to our support team for help. This provided us with the opportunity to work together on a deeper level than we had ever been able to before. Our support worker Jenna managed to help him with the financial abuse he was experiencing, and encouraged him to move into supported accommodation. Not long after taking Andy through the referral process, Jenna received the good news: Andy had been accepted.

At the time of writing, Andy has been staying in his supported accommodation for five months. He’s putting on weight and looking a lot healthier. He also engages very well with Jenna and rings her regularly to keep us all updated on how he’s doing. Jenna has been able to continue to work with him while he developed his trust in the accommodation staff, and he is now in a place where he feels he can work with them too.

Looking ahead

Andy can now have a full conversation while maintaining eye contact. This time last year, he couldn’t look anyone in the eye at all – which is a sign of just how far he has come! It’s also been an important factor in us being able to have honest, non-judgemental conversations with him about his drug use.

Initially, Andy said he was not interested in stopping taking drugs. But by advising him that, when the time comes and he is ready to look at support options, we would be happy to help, he amazingly has recently asked about accessing rehab. He has now had a few appointments and is also taking medication to help with his mental health. 

Barnabus has also helped Andy reconnect with a family member which, given that he has little local family support and has felt extremely lonely at times, has been huge for him.

Help others make their next step

Andy has come on so far recently and has developed the confidence that he had lost along the way. He gives us so much hope, and reminds us why we will never give up on someone. Whoever they are, we will always be ready to help them – no matter how long we have to wait.

If you would like to support our work, whether you know of any suitable homes and tenancies for our friends or would like to donate some furnishings, please email [email protected]. You can also donate through our website. Thank you.

*Name has been changed to protect our friend’s identity