A familiar story
Mike, 45, is a resident at Barnabas House – Julian House’ first supported housing project which opened in 1997. Whilst there, clients receive support to address difficulties that have previously prevented them from living independently.
“I was a welder and fabricator for 15 years before suffering from severe sciatica down both legs and arthritis in my spine. This meant I couldn’t continue working as a welder. Such severe back pain and a relationship break-up on top of that really hurt. And then a woman offered me heroin to get rid of the pain. It was such a relief to be free of pain for a moment but it makes you really ill, which I didn’t know. Coming off heroin is one of the most challenging and painful things I have ever done.”
Julian House operates more than 20 different projects, accommodation sites and social enterprises in Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Devon. These include a range of homeless services, support for those suffering domestic violence, addiction recovery support – as well as work experience and training. In total Julian House manages 108 bed spaces, for clients with a wide spectrum of needs. Not just changing lives – often saving lives.
The charity’s vision is a just society where socially excluded people are supported and empowered to build sustainable, independent lives.
Julian House has been working with Mike since January 2014 to take the key steps he needs to develop new skills so he can work, get a home and supporting him to address issues with alcohol too.
“Becci, my keyworker at Julian House, is amazing. She is always pleased to see me. She is respectful and really cares. I can talk to her about everything and she listens, even when it is really busy and there is always something practical we can do.
My goal is to have my own place by the end of the year. Becci has helped me with my position on the housing list and hopefully there will be a place available for me within 3 months, which is really great.”
Creating a future
Unemployment is a significant feature for people with experiences of addiction, homelessness and/or a history of offending. There is clear evidence that employment can be the major contributing factor in helping individuals to transform their lives for the better. However, achieving this goal can present real challenges.
“Julian House has also helped me get work as a painter and decorator, which I really enjoy and I’ve had good feedback that my work is professional and of a good standard. Vinnie, who looks after the maintenance of Barnabas House, has given me lots of advice and tips about the best way to do things and Becci has helped me print flyers and business cards so I can find more work. She also got the funding for me to do an introduction to electronics college course. There is so much I could say about Julian House, as they are amazing. The experience here has given me confidence. Without them I would be on the streets. They are like family” concluded Mike.
At its foundation Julian House was set up to offer direct support to some of the most marginalised people in society – the homeless. Initially this was limited to offering food and shelter. Over time other projects and services have been developed which not only address the symptoms of homelessness but also the underlying reasons why men and women are forced onto the streets. You can find out more by visiting www.julianhouse.org.uk. Triodos Bank helped Julian House purchase a new property to provide accommodation for the people they support.
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