Clients and staff from across our projects are coming together in June to walk up Mount Snowdon in Wales in memory of those who have died as a result of sleeping rough. They hope to raise awareness and funds for vital services which ultimately change our clients’ lives. St Mungo’s volunteer, David, explains why he’s taking part in the walk.
My name is David and I want to write about a sponsored walk I am doing with a few other clients and staff up Mount Snowdon in June this year.
It may be a good idea to explain why I became homeless and what St Mungo’s has done for me.
I was evicted from my council flat on 29 October 2008. I was constantly being financially and verbally abused and I could not work out why this was happening. I was two weeks away from my 54th birthday and I was determined to find out why and what was to be done about stopping this abuse.
I decided that the first move toward my changing my life was to get advice. This first move I made was to go to Crisis Skylight. They managed to get me into a shelter for two nights a week, I spent the other five in parks or night buses. After three weeks I was accepted as homeless and vulnerable by my local council, given help and a room in a hostel.
I was there for two years and then moved into semi-independent accommodation for another three years.
Thankfully, St Mungo’s ran the service in the semi-independent accommodation. Here, I was able to start my new life and I registered with St Mungo’s Recovery College and ‘Outside In’, the client involvement group.
The five years that followed my eviction were difficult. It took me two years to put the first steps to assertiveness and communication into place. When I started at Outside In I was able to make friends. I realised that I was able to make use of my social skills and make a massive change in my life.
After a few months with the Recovery College I was invited to study the Peer Facilitation course level 2 which I passed first time. What a change – I used to need around four goes. This meant I could now facilitate Outside In courses and teach St Mungo’s staff about the ‘Recovery Approach’.
To sum up, when I became homeless I described myself as incapable of achieving anything. After St Mungo’s came into my life, I started to realise that I was capable and lovable! I was making a success of things and I managed to build my self- esteem.
I have thought about doing a sponsored walk for St Mungo’s since I joined Outside In, the client involvement group, in 2012.
That is all I had done, until I saw a poster in the Outside In office about this particular Snowdon walk being arranged by two of my friends from Outside In. I immediately told the organisers that I was interested and arranged to do the weekly walks we do to prepare for the main event.
Now I will explain why I wanted to do this walk and what I hope to get out of it. I have done a lot of voluntary work for St Mungo’s for the Fundraising, Communications and Campaign teams and have enjoyed every minute of it. I know it is all very important and helps a great deal to promote the services that St Mungo’s do.
I feel it would be great to actually raise money for St Mungo’s rather than just encourage others to do that. I wanted to prove to myself and others that I can keep to an agenda.
Another reason is that I can put back in what I have taken out and be a huge beacon to present and future homeless people.
Please support us for this event.
Find out more about the Snowdon Challenge.