During the winter of 2012 and ’13, I lived and slept in my car because I had nowhere else to go. The windows iced up on more than one occasion and I almost froze. It wasn’t like I’d chosen that for myself – I had a full-time job, but outside of work I was no-one and when I lost my home due to a relationship breakdown, I had nowhere to go and no-one to turn to, so my car was the only place I could find shelter.

Finding warmth again

Eventually, my car broke down so I ended up on the streets, this is where I learnt about the Freedom Centre from other people in similar or even worse situations than mine. All I really wanted was someone to help me, a warm bed and something to eat. The people at Freedom even called me to offer me a bed, but the problem was getting there – I still had a full-time job to hold down. Shortly after though I unfairly lost that job, so I took the chance to go along to the Freedom Centre and see if they could help. The main thing I remember about that day is meeting warm, lovely people who actually listened to me and then offered me lots of help and advice.

Building a plan for the future

Together we worked out a plan – not only to get me fed, into some accommodation and off the streets but also how to get another job. I’d done a computer course, but I needed help with putting together an up-to-date C.V, cover letters and sending off applications – they gave me all of that help. I planned to go to the centre regularly, sign up with North Devon Homes and look for a place of my own too.

Getting back on track

Just knowing that someone actually cared and that I could get help any time made a huge difference to me and what I could do. I wasn’t a ‘nobody’ anymore, I could see I was somebody to them and I was becoming ‘somebody’ to myself and others too. I was starting to do things with my life, get things back on track again. Now I have my own place but I still go along to Freedom once a week to catch up with the friends I made there and some help with moving further forward with my life.

I don’t know what I’d have done without their help, I certainly wouldn’t be here today, on my own feet again, in a flat of my own with friends and a job. If I hadn’t have made that step then I’d be lost now.

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