As a supporter of Depaul UK’s work, I am sure you agree that no young person should have to sleep rough or stay in another unsafe place.
As part of the Depaul team in Manchester, I work directly with young people at risk of homelessness. We aim to prevent rough sleeping among vulnerable young people and to give them the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Because there is a lack of affordable accommodation, the number of young people sleeping rough is growing. As winter approaches we urgently need your help. One young person I work with is Callum, aged 23.
Callum spent much of his life in care homes and, because he has had to move around a great deal, struggled at education and securing qualifications.
When he left care at 18, he was given a place in a flat. He recalls: “I was on benefits, just scraping by. I did what I thought was the right thing to do and got a full-time job as a labourer.”
Unfortunately, landing the job triggered a downward spiral for Callum. Even though he was working full time, he struggled to afford the rent and eventually had to leave his flat.
“I stayed with mates, different people’s sofas. Eventually, you’ve used up all your options.” Callum’s mental health deteriorated and he lost his job.
Callum was at crisis point. Fortunately, he was referred to Depaul’s Nightstop network, where he was given a bed, a meal and a warm welcome by one of our volunteer hosts. “I was very apprehensive” he says. “Then I met my Nightstop host and she helped me to settle in really quick. Such a lovely woman. It was nice to go home and have somewhere secure, safe.”
After two weeks, the team at Depaul found Callum a room in a flat, where he stayed for more than a year. Callum, who had always dreamed of becoming a firefighter, began volunteering with the Fire Service.
The good news doesn’t end there. Callum received help with the cost of learning to drive and as a result was able to secure paid employment with the Fire Service. Callum says: “My next step is to go for a full-time firefighter job and I need to have my GCSE Maths and English to do that. At Depaul UK, I was told about a grant I could apply for, for education purposes. I went for the grant, for private tutoring, and I got the full amount – thanks to Depaul.
“Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve always been really keen on helping people. I wanted to be a paramedic or a firefighter. Firefighting – it’s not just rescuing people – it’s the getting involved with your communities as well, supporting people who have been in the same situations as yourself. Giving back to society. I’m feeling good. The future is good, hopefully.”
Thanks to our wonderful supporters and amazing volunteers, Callum received the help he needed. By providing a safe place to stay at the start, we were then able to provide dedicated supporter workers to help Callum take up education and employment opportunities, setting him up for the future.
Callum is intelligent and driven and it is fantastic to see him realising his full potential.
Every night of the year across the UK, young people like Callum find themselves without a safe place to stay and need our help. We want to reach young people at risk of homelessness before they have to risk sleeping rough, so that we can help them get their life back on track.
But first we need to reach them and keep them safe. With a donation today you can make that crucial, truly life-changing difference to a young person like Callum.