JR, a former chef, arrived at the Good Shepherd homeless and was alternating between sleeping rough and sofa surfing. With a history of substance misuse, depression and anxiety, we encouraged JR to engage in our service user-volunteering programme and helped him into private rental through our supported lettings scheme.

With a passion for food, JR started to take a lead with the cooking class. Through our programme, he began helping in the kitchen cooking delicious meals for the dining service at our day centre – we have to say that his dishes definitely did go down a treat with all!

Shortly after, he gained employment in a restaurant working as a chef. Alongside this, JR continues to engage in activities around work.

Speaking about his time with us, JR commented:

My homelessness goes back a long time, I was involved in drugs and went through the hostel system and then back to living on the street. I became suicidal. I then met Paul from the Good Shepherd, who helped me get into some accommodation and shortly after I began to help them every day as a volunteer. I wanted to give back to the people who helped me. I now have a dream of starting my own business and having a special café. It’s all about relationships – finding the right people who can help.

“The groups were a beacon of hope for me at the very lowest point of my life. The groups are an amazing experience and the best way to understand and know people. They differ from peer support to cooking, from art to a movie night, they really do their very best to facilitate everyone.”

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