FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE…FROM NOTHING TO A LIFE WORTHWHILE

The entire Transom Trust project focuses on the needs and progress of the residents we support.From the Residents’ own stories, it is great to see and hear how much they have rediscovered hope, meaning and purpose in their lives. This is thanks to their commitment, and to the support they have received from our pastoral support volunteers. So enjoy these stories, and be encouraged to see how individuals have gone from despair to hope… and from nothing to a life worthwhile.

Resident A

“ I was homeless sleeping rough in the shelter near Hastings’s pier, & was referred to TT via Seaview. I struggled in the early days due to my daughter’s death & drug addiction, but my turning point was when TT arranged for me to attend a Recovery course ran by a local church. My self-esteem & confidence started to build, and I started voluntary work with two local organisations, & the same local church. I also completed a number of courses – first aid & for care work. TT connected me up with Safe Haven – a great place to socialise & receive advise. TT helped me improve my budgeting skills, largely via trial and error on my part. It helped me spend time & care shopping, focussing on buying fresh produce, & better portions for healthy eating. As I continued to progress, I completed a security course paid for by a friend (and now colleague, & started work as a self-employed security guard with a local firm. I am now night Team leader for my shift team, with the prospect of plenty of work in the future. I would like to befriend & support others joining my employer, & I am now looking for private rented accommodation. Persistence by TT & myself has paid off.”

Resident B

“At the age of 64 my life changed completely and utterly. Losing my home and finding myself living on the streets for the first time in my life was totally devastating. All self-esteem ebbed away and I was left emotionally beaten down and feeling worthless. It was some months later, through local homeless networks, that I came into contact with Transom Trust. I felt almost immediately that something positive was about to happen. The Transom guys were so helpful and supportive I felt hope for the first time in ages. Transom offered me a lifeline, a chance to rebuild. I grabbed it, and since then I’ve stabilized and strengthened emotionally and spiritually, forged new friendships and I’m hopeful for good future. I am eternally grateful”.

Resident C

“I have benefited from being in supported accommodation with Transom Trust in a number of ways. They helped me get my identity documents sorted and open up a bank account. I am now living in a place I like and want to be in – somewhere safe with my own bed makes a real difference. I am feeling healthier, and friends who haven’t seen me for a while now say how well I look – so it must be doing some good. I get on well with most people, including my flatmate. My finances have improved though I did have a recent set back, which Transom Trust are helping me overcome with budgeting advice. I would love to return to work but that is something for the future – I just want to get back on track to start with. Overall, I do feel supported by someone who cares.”

Resident D

“I had been homeless for 7-8 years. During that time, I suffered the bereavement of my partner, which left me severely depressed and disengaged from services. I had previously stopped using heroin but continued to drink approximately 6 cans of beer per day, and had been desperate to enter a detox programme from alcohol and methadone. However, I could not be admitted to detox without accommodation to be discharged to. The local authority offered me temporary accommodation but this would have been out of the area, away from his support network, and – more importantly – I would not be allowed to take my dog (my best friend and lifeline) with him into the temporary accommodation. For many months it seemed impossible to find a solution, until Transom Trust obtained its second property and offered me a place. I settled into the flat, making the difficult adjustments that are needed after years on the streets, following which I successfully completed a medical inpatient detox programme from methadone and alcohol. I continue to struggle with my mental health. Despite this, I remain alcohol- and drug-free, and I am taking positive steps to rebuild my life with the support of a Transom pastoral volunteer and other agencies. I am also he engaging in some voluntary work, and I am waiting for social housing through Hastings Council.”

Resident E

“After being hospitalised following a serious suicide attempt while street homeless in early 2017, I was discharged to the local winter night shelter. After the closure of the shelter, I remained severely depressed and would have found myself on the streets once again, had it not been for the intervention of Transom Trust, who offered me a place in its first property. As is not uncommon for someone with severe depression, I was reluctant to open up to the pastoral support volunteers for a long time. Gradually, however, I discovered common areas of interest with my volunteer and developed a mutually enjoyable connection. Me and my flatmate supported one another, and this made the flat into a beautiful, welcoming home. Over time, my mental health visibly improved. At first, there were real concerns and risks with me over-dosing, given the quantities of medications in my possession. These concerns have disappeared, and despite my deteriorating physical health, I am positive about my future. I am now making plans for moving on to more independent accommodation.

In addition, here’s the pastoral support volunteer’s own description of her experience of supporting Resident E. “I first visited X about 2 weeks after he had moved into the Transom Trust’s first flat. He was in a fragile mental state having attempted suicide recently and was in poor physical health. He was also wary of authority, resentful of the conditions he had to comply with to stay in the flat, suspicious of the Christian ethos of Transom Trust and hard to engage in conversation. Being his pastoral support was a challenge from the outset. Two years later what I have learnt is that simply being faithful, reliable, honest and kind has formed the basis of a pastoral relationship between the atheist and the vicar which has become an unlikely friendship. X’s mental health has stabilised, and his emotional resilience is much stronger. Sadly, his physical health has deteriorated and is restricting his mobility, but he is coping well. We have begun to talk about difficult things and our shared task of planning for the future continues.”