Justin – Changed his Life through Saints4Sport & Volunteering
At the time of writing our Impact Report, Justin had volunteered over 1700 hours through our Bridge2Volunteering programme, which is a new record! He has volunteered for 36-40 hours per week for over a year, and is now also employed part time by our partners at the Saints Foundation to work on our partnership project, Saints4Sport.
My psychiatrist thought it was good to start volunteering somewhere. I was walking past The Bridge and I used to use the service, so I thought, “why don’t I just go in there?” – instinct I suppose. That was in February 2013, I had volunteer training in February, then I started volunteering on the 4th of April.
Quite a lot has changed so far. I’ve sort of got a lot more confidence and self-worth and since doing the actual work with Saints4Sport, through SSJ I’ve actually got part-time work. That’s obviously a big thing, you know – to get paid for something makes you feel what you’re doing is right.
Before I was doing sport to fight an addiction. Now it’s more of the social side of it so it’s a lot more worthwhile, you know? A lot has changed.
Every dynamic and area of my life has changed through this service.
The fighting addiction part was hard, obviously. On your own you dissociate from people so you’re on your own, sort of doing things more to keep your mind busy and stuff like that. With Saints4Sport it’s more enjoyable and there’s other people around you who have been through similar experiences, so you sort of forget about the addiction side. It’s more of an enjoyable thing – come down and do some sport. I love it. I thrive off of it.
The next 12 months I’ve been thinking about a lot recently because I’m 26 tomorrow. It’s a big step when you’re getting past the early years in your twenties, so I want full time work within the next two months. I want to finish my diploma – Health and Social Care Level 3 which is also through SSJ, so I’ve got four months left to do of that, I am hoping I can pass it in three. I would like to move into a new flat, maybe a nice holiday somewhere in the next 12 months … and then the girlfriend and the family – that can start after 27!
Before, I didn’t think those things were gonna happen because I was so much in that loop of just thinking about the day, just the day, getting a hit for the day. But now it’s grown to weeks, and then it got to months, and now I am looking to the next few years.
If you would like to make a donation to our End Youth Homelessness Sleep Out so that we can continue helping people like Justin, you can visit our JustGiving page, or you can make a donation of up to £10 with JustTextGiving.