There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. You can regain your confidence and get your life back together.
I went from working full-time for 33 years at a factory that was just across the road from where I lived to suddenly being made redundant and didn’t know what to do.
I locked myself away for 12 months, I was really struggling but kept it all to myself, I even kept it from my two boys.
It was such a shock and the final day of work felt like the beginning of a war. After that it was hard because I lived so close to the factory which had departments that were still going. I could hear people working – it was too close and I found it very upsetting. I really struggled with facing the world and even opening letters and ended up with three black bags full of them. Eventually my house was repossessed and I became homeless. I was out on the day that it happened, when I got home I could see three men in my house going through all of my belongings and changing the locks. I couldn’t believe it.
I stayed on friend’s sofas and occasionally at a coffee shop where I was helping out.
I went to the GP for help and they could see that I was struggling, I was referred to counselling, the support I got from my GP was great. Following this, I had a call from Platfform and met with their staff. They were a brilliant support and got me into a hostel. I didn’t want to go there to begin with but it ended up being fine; they had a communal TV room and a kitchen and a massive garden that I was able to help out with.
Once a space became available, I was offered accommodation at Platfform’s supported housing. After settling in I started making things there too; I built an allotment where we grow vegetables and fruit and I’m always doing things in the flat, I love DIY and have made my own bench for doing my woodwork. I now like to keep myself busy with any DIY and gardening, I used a fallen branch to create a bird bath when I arrived and it was the first time they had birds in the garden for years. I started building all sorts of things, a bench, some reindeers at Christmas time – people were even asking to buy them!
Being outdoors in nature is my favourite thing
I love being outdoors in nature, digging the garden and grass for the veg patch. I keep in touch with my brother and ask him for his gardening tips. After talking to him this year we’ve had the reddest, biggest strawberries I’ve ever seen! I get my son to help in the garden too and I can see it helps encourage him and builds his confidence.
If it wasn’t for the help I’d had from the staff at Platfform I don’t know where I would be today. It’s important to remember that there are always people out there who will listen and offer support. I’d say don’t be scared or too proud to seek support, there are so many options available; phone helplines or visit citizens advice bureau for example. Don’t let the problems get too far out of hand like I did. I’ve learned to be honest with the people that I seek support from, and I don’t feel embarrassed anymore, they are there to help and now I can accept this.