The Wellspring stories

“Learn by your past and look forward to the future.”

Alison Hunt
Project Worker

‘Alan’s’ Story

By Alison Hunt
Project Worker

“Three days after the bike ride I received a phone call that one of the males on the bike ride was critically ill in hospital. Alan was the victim of an attack which resulted in a stab wound which punctured his lung. Alan underwent surgery for this. The attack had a huge impact on him emotionally and physically. I supported him intensively with hospital visits on a daily basis, being advocate, accessing health, housing, clothing, food benefits and emotional support. Alan experienced lash backs and panic attacks. He was like a changed man. It was very sad to see the effects the attack had on him. During this time he was accessing his doctor regularly and was referred to the mental health team. Alan struggled being on his own after the attack. This had a profound impact on me emotionally. This experience has made me value every contact I have, as you never know when you will see that person again.”

‘Rupert’s’ Story

By Alex Knight
Project Worker

“I first supported Rupert whilst I was a social work student nearly 6 years ago. During one of our outreach visits we found him sleeping under a bridge. He came to The Wellspring and I supported him to apply for, and eventually move into, his own accommodation. When I returned around a year later Rupert had been evicted from his property and was rough sleeping again. We started the long process of re-applying for housing and he again moved into his own accommodation. Rupert suffers from depression and, during his darker days, drinks heavily, disengages from all services, and becomes at risk of eviction. During the past 4 years I have taken the time to learn his pattern of behaviour, identify his triggers and from this support him to prevent any further evictions. This can involve anything from outreach, practical support, such as new benefit claim, and emotional support. Rupert is currently in employment; becoming more independent and has recently saved up and bought a car- a prime of example of how long term intervention can break the ‘cycle’.”

‘Rachel’s’ Story

By Alison Hunt
Project Worker

“I have been rebuilding my life after being physically and mentally abused by a man who is now in prison for it. Feeling in control and confident 18 months into my recovery, I was invited out last minute by two friends who I felt safe with that night. We went into Manchester but, after being out for only an hour I lost my friends. It left me feeling vulnerable and sad I was back on my own, feeling alone. I got a taxi to the pub, but after only being in the pub for a short period of time, I was taken outside and beaten, cut, kicked repeatedly and hit. i ended up being knocked unconscious. The next thing I remember is waking up in the police station in pain emotionally and physically, I was confused, disorientated, and full of fear as my memory was blank at the time. All I knew was I had been assaulted again. I was offered a call by the police and I was too frightened to ring home and tell my mum, so I asked for Alison Hunt – my project worker who has worked with me for now over 18 months. Not even thinking she’d be on duty on a Sunday afternoon to my huge relief, she agreed to come into the station. This is something my parents couldn’t do. Alison helped me to work through the ordeal and gave me confidence to tell the police I’d been beaten again after going through it only 18 months ago. I was broken at this point. Having Alison by my side, meant I had someone – a professional, that had the knowledge and experience to back me up my lifestyle changes and also my falls in recovery. Alison went out of her way for me that night at the police station. I truly believe that if she had no faith and trust in me she wouldn’t have gone out her way to help. I would be lost without Alison’s expertise. Her ability to communicate with others in my life has been overwhelming. Without her support and The Wellspring too I’d be truly and deeply lost. They also inspire me to want to help others and give back to society. I don’t know how she does it, but Alison has an amazing ability to communicate with people, especially with my Mum and step Dad. With her helping my parents to understand and make sense of the choices I’ve made in life and why and how it has left me feeling and coping. My relationship with my mum is back on track thanks to Alison. My mum has a better understanding than she has ever done, which gives me great pride, support and confidence that they believe in me. The support I have received from my mum and step dad has been overwhelming and it has helped me to gain inner strength, positive direction within my recovery and for us to be a family
that all enjoy being together.”

‘Tom’s’ Story

By Alex Knight
Project Worker

“Tom found himself homeless following a relationship breakdown. He accessed The Wellspring and was referred to hostel accommodation. An incident occurred, Tom was evicted and he set up a tent next to the canal. Tom accepted responsibility for his actions that led to the eviction and was extremely remorseful. Tom was also excluded from the housing register. Everything, to him, seemed hopeless. I felt quite strongly that the decision to exclude him from the housing register had been made without a full overview of the facts. There was also an element of inequality as others involved in the incident had since been given a second chance. Tom saw no point in appealing, he was in complete despair, his tent was repeatedly slashed and his belongings stolen. With nothing to lose, Tom decided appealing was his only option. I supported him to write a letter and liaised with housing. His case was heard by a panel, his appeal was accepted and his housing application reactivated. Two weeks later Tom successfully bid and signed for his own flat. Tom has now moved in and is currently in the process of decorating his new home.”

‘Luke’s’ Story

By Alex Knight
Project Worker

“The legal high ‘Spice’ has been a particularly prevalent drug used by our client group over the past 12 months. Many report using it as a substitute for class A substances such as heroin. Spice is potent, addictive and can have an extremely adverse impact on an individual’s behaviour. Following a period of homelessness after eviction from his property, Luke was finally supported into temporary accommodation. This was massive step forward for him as he had spent a long time sleeping in a shed like structure in some woods, during this time he had used spice to cope with his situation. Luke settled well into his accommodation and engaged with staff. One night he used spice, his behaviour became bizarre and erratic, and he was immediately asked to leave. Luke was dismayed at how he had behaved, having no recollection of his actions and realising that potentially he could lose everything. I had known Luke for four years and knew this behaviour was very out of character and he wanted so desperately to change. I phoned the accommodation and advocated on his behalf, pleading his case to the manager. The housing manager agreed to give Luke a second chance, moving him to a different site. He progressed well there and didn’t smoke spice again. Luke told me he never felt himself again after the spice episode. It’s frightening that something that can be bought legally in a shop can have such a prolonged, and potentially devastating effect on someone.”

Jon’s story

By Alex Knight
Project Worker

“An update from ‘Jon’. Last year I talked about Jon, who was stuck in a cycle of homelessness, drug use and many other complex issues. After being in temporary accommodation over 10 times we facilitated a move to his sister’s out of area. With the support of his sister and The Wellspring, Jon completed a home detox of methadone. 2015 for
him was a challenging and proactive year, Jon passed his driving test and signed for his first ever independent flat. Jon still faces challenges and struggled emotionally to deal with the transition but support from the Wellspring continues and he is progressing well. “When I first got my flat, well, I remember walking to the housing office with Alex. I absolutely could not take it in, it was the best but most overwhelming thing I have ever experienced. I was scared but at the same time the happiest I have been in a long time, I cried. Alex reassured me and supported through signing the tenancy and understanding it all. For the past 30 years I have been used to prisons, children’s homes or hospitals, I felt safe there and in some ways at home. I have even been in the same hostel 10 times over. When I moved into my flat I had nothing. I wasn’t liking the change, so I tried messing things up as I didn’t want the responsibility so it was easier just to sabotage it. I felt pressured. The flat on paper was perfect, out of area and just down the road from my sister’s house but I just could not get my head round it, things were changing and I was frightened. I had nothing furniture wise and had no idea about bills and the responsibility but Alex helped with it all, setting up direct debits to make sure things were kept on top of and supporting me to collect things to make it into a home. I am now nearly one year on, I look back at my life now and it’s all so different. Alex and The Wellspring helped me immensely, both emotionally and physically. Truthfully I can’t thank them enough, I could not have done it without them. My outlook
on life is so different now, I have achieved things I never dreamed possible and I appreciate everything I’ve got. As for me now; I will always be involved with The Wellspring voluntary work but as I have achieved so much I can now start looking to pursue my dream job and start work. On my wall in my front room it says ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain’. I look at it every day when I walk in the door, it’s true, you have to take opportunities, no-one can change my life but me.”

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