We first met Darren when he visited our Drop-in Centre. He’d been sleeping rough in Manchester and had heard about us from another homeless person. While he was there, a Barnabus volunteer introduced him to one of our Support Team, who referred him to an emergency night shelter.

From there, we referred him to a hostel with low to medium support. Darren was respectful of his surroundings and regularly engaged with our support workers. However, his self-esteem and confidence were very low – he’d previously been employed but didn’t feel able to think about going back to work.

Darren started coming regularly to our drop-in activities, and we invited him to take part in our volunteering scheme to encourage him and help restore his confidence. We could see that he was willing to help, so he started to attend our RENU upcycling furniture enterprise. Darren was a fast learner and produced some stunning work. He always said that he considered RENU a workplace and was motivated to attend as if it were his job. When he was focusing on the furniture he felt calm as this helped him forget his problems. He began to bring other homeless friends along and became a mentor, encouraging and inspiring others to do well. The course also gave him the confidence to apply for paid work again.

During this time, we offered Darren home in one of our shared house tenancies. Our tenancy came with a year’s support to help him overcome his challenges and succeed at living independently. He is now living happily in his own home.  We also offered him a volunteering opportunity assisting our van driver with donation pick-ups to help boost his CV. While he was volunteering, a corporate supporter who partners with Barnabus got in contact to say they wanted to meet with Darren to find out if he might be ready for a working role and as a result, he is now working for them in a full-time job.