I've already started some plumbing training with St Mungo's - just the basics so far but I'm enjoying it. It'll be great to learn a proper trade. And earn a good wage down the line!
The last few years weren't part of the plan. I'd moved to London, found a gardening job, and thought I was set. But I still needed help to cover my rent. I applied for housing benefit and things started going wrong. It was small mistakes at first - a late letter, a missed appointment. Then it grew bigger. I didn't have any savings. The end result? I lost my flat and then my job.
I didn’t want to stay in a hostel and be around drugs. I tried to hold out and make some money through begging. I was outside for two years in the end. I'd sit on London Bridge during the day and sleep in the City. The money wasn't bad. It seemed a better option than rough housing.
It was last summer that I decided I wanted to get off the streets. I love nice weather and walking along the sunny river. But not sitting out in that heat all day. And people are less sympathetic than when it's cold. The street outreach team knew me. I asked if they could find me a quiet room. A few weeks later I was in a hostel. I stayed there 8 months and have just moved on to a flat.
I think the people who used to pass me on London Bridge would be happy to see me up on Beam. I'm doing something different now and going after a proper career!