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.
Tom was fortunate enough to be given an emergency bed at a homeless centre however, a bed wasn’t always guaranteed and Tom would have to wait until last thing at night to find out if there was enough room to let him in. It was during the next couple of weeks that Tom heard about The Bridge through word of mouth.
Tom started by going to the evening food service at The Bridge on a Thursday. Here, he felt safe and welcomed by the warm and friendly team. He was given a sleeping bag by one of the staff in case he couldn’t get one of the emergency beds as well as clean socks.
"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."
During the 'Everybody In' initiative Tom was placed into temporary accommodation where he still resides now. Thankfully prior to the lockdown, he had addressed his mental health issues and had found a home group for drug rehabilitation.
In August 2020, Tom started volunteering at a church food bank which he had relied on when he was first placed in temporary accommodation. He now works part time as well as volunteering at The Bridge.
"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. I go out once a week with a group to take food and hot drinks to people rough sleeping, as well as warm clothing, sleeping bags and clean socks. There are so many good people and organisations doing so many good things and The Bridge is one of them."