The Bridge Homelessness to Hope is not just another drop-in centre but is often the centre of people’s lives. Everybody that visits The Bridge has a different experience, but there is one common theme which runs through every story: they feel valued, cared for and loved.
Here are just a few stories from the people who have visited us...
In January 2020, Tom didn’t want to live the life he had anymore. He was homeless, suffering with mental ill-health and had a severe addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Tom had been suicidal for several years but something inside of him always fought against it. When at a major crossroad in his life, he knew that he could either end his life, or face all of his problems head on.
After a week of deliberation, Tom made what he has called "the best decision of his life" and picked up the phone to reach out to a charity and discuss his options. He also opened his heart to a lady at a support project in Leicester where he was told all about the help available across the city, the charities that could support him and about the drug rehabilitation groups he could access.
"Clean socks may seem like such a trivial thing, but in those circumstances, clean socks meant everything to me. I had nothing, I had nowhere, so the smallest bit of kindness meant everything."
At 19 years old, Anna found herself in a strange country, where she spoke very little of the language, had no money and was not entitled to benefits.
She wanted to work but was unable to find consistent employment, had a drug and alcohol dependency and soon found that the only way she was able to get away from the men that brought her to the country was by becoming involved with another, much older man.
A Bridge caseworker that supported young women first met the couple when they were rough sleeping. She was able to offer them both a warm safe space at The Bridge for a few hours during the day, along with a meal, shower, washing facilities and change of clothing.
"It’s nice to be able to give back to the places that helped me when I needed it and that do so much good for other people."
John first came to The Bridge in November 2019. His relationship had broken down and he was unable to stay with friends or family, so had found himself sleeping rough. He was very upset and there were concerns over his alcohol and possible drug consumption.
By spending time at The Bridge, John began to feel safe, and it gave his caseworker the opportunity to explain to him how the services work. The caseworker was also able to gently build trust with John by checking in with him regularly and having hopeful, reassuring conversations with him whenever he visited.
John was later referred to the Leicester City Centre Outreach team and gained access to emergency accommodation. He also continued to use the food services and regularly visited the centre whenever possible, to socialise with staff and volunteers - discussing nature, music and culture over a hot dinner.