After the loss of my wife to cancer, despite working hard, I began to struggle with mortgage debt and alcohol dependence. Finding myself homeless, and with nowhere to go, someone told me about Betel Rehab, Hexham. I got stuck in to community living, taking part in their furniture restoration projects , gardening social enterprise and cooking, and hearing about the love of God. The program was strict, up early in the mornings, they kept you busy all day, sometimes it was tough, but it saved my life.
When I felt ready to move on towards resettlement back in to ‘normal life’ I was referred by Betel staff to Green Pastures Sunderland supported housing, as a move towards independent living. I’m more confident now.
I have made efforts to welcome and encourage other residents. I have engaged with IT courses since staying at Sunderland and I've grown in confidence, going from almost zero, to IT pro, as well as volunteering to paint and decorate for the benefit of others. I am now on the next step of my journey, looking forward to meeting my new grandchild!
I had a difficult childhood and started on drugs at 14. At 15 I was kicked out of home, was a functioning addict and go to work each day. After being with my partner for 17 years she kicked me out due to the drugs.
Now I am clean and experienced Jesus making me fresher and a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was baptised and no longer feel the void in my life that I tried to unsuccessfully fill with drugs. I am back with my partner and seeing my children regularly.
I have a plan for my future, to get my own business, van and tools, teach other resident new trades. I want to get married to my partner and help others who are in a similar situation that I was in.
Marie is a survivor of trafficking, still in her early 20s. She grew up in another country and was sexually exploited from childhood. She was never really free. When she arrived at Ella’s last year, Marie’s mental health was in a bad way and she lacked the basic life skills to live safely.
Through the care and community she’s found at Ella’s, and the mental health support they’ve helped her access, Marie is now turning her life around. She has a part-time job and is studying design at university. Her room is now the perfect place for her to draw and study. ‘The face is about hope,’ she says. ‘It represents people from all different backgrounds, which is why the face is in two halves. The flowers are to show new beginnings.’
‘This is the best place I’ve lived,’ says Marie. ‘I wish I could live here for 10 years!’ The goal is to see all the women Ella's work with become able to live independently as well as safely, so we know that Marie won’t need to live with them for 10 years. And so does she. But she also knows that they will always be here for her if she needs them.
My life before the Greenhouse, I did 6 months rehab before this I was in a dark place and weighed about 8 stone. You could see my bones and I needed help.
I moved about to dry houses and I needed a change and heard about The Greenhouse. It’s amazing living here. I’ve got God in my life now and it’s really changed me. People at the Greenhouse are very kind and supportive. We eat together and pray together. We have morning prayer and it lifts me up for the day. I’m working at the art shop 3 days a week which I enjoy, meeting new people.
I had no experience of God before and I now I have God in my life it’s helping me massively. I am going to get baptised soon which I want everyone to witness it. All my family are so happy for me and supportive.
I had a marriage breakdown and I became homeless and had slept rough. When I was first found on the streets I was outside St Cuthbert’s Church in Wells, where I’d been married years before and actually I’ve found great comfort in the Church. It was people of the church that took me to the Connect Centre.
Moving here has lifted my spirits and I'm so grateful for everything. The support that I've had has been absolutely amazing. I'm overwhelmed with all the support and activities and the fact that I've been given this lovely home and lots of opportunities.
My life has changed and I have gone from being a full time carer. I’m hoping I can give something back, I would like to do very similar work myself and I’m already starting to do that with cooking and volunteering and it’s all very very positive.
I’m hoping I can give something back, I would like to do very similar work myself and I’m already starting to do that with cooking and volunteering and it’s all very very positive.
Thank you for helping me out. I was on drugs and gambling and that's all stopped now. At the house I was helped out a lot and made me realise what I was doing to myself.
I wanted to sort my life out, we had a few trips out and kept ourselves busy. I lacked in confidence when I first came and kept my head down and I've grown in confidence now.
Looking ahead I think the futures a lot brighter now. I want to get back to work, get a girlfriend and sort my life out. I want to have a happy life now and stop making the mistakes of the past.
It was a literal lifeline coming to this house. I had come to the area on a college course and temporary accommodation and fell behind on my fees and nowhere to stay, needing a lifeline. I met Carl through the church network and I moved into the house.
I got on well straight away with the other guys straight away which was a real blessing and we ended up going out to the park and cooking together. Within the house it's like a 3 strand cord that is hard to break. It's been a great position to be in to push off from, like walking on tarmac rather than sand.I've made total use of my room and to have not just a pit stop but a blast off!
I've gone back to what skills I've got already and managed to get money from the job centre and starting up my own business. Having Lifeline has been such a great support. I'm really excited about when I leave here finding my own place and not just a place to scrap for rent, the business will be running as well, so it will be exciting when I move on from Lifeline.
I had a breakdown and was struggling with mental illness, with money and my kids. I lost a lot of weight because I wasn't eating, so my kids could. I couldn't imagine not going back into hospital again 6 months ago.
Through the compassion Centre, Im back to me again and doing well, becoming self sufficient again. I have been helped to budget my money better, taking away the stress of saving food and prioritising food for my children. It's given me the opportunity to be a father again. I have received one on one chats with people who have come alongside me. My kids are far happier and we have a good schedule now. If I didn't get this place, I would have been in a hostel and lost my children and there would have been no way back from that.
I can't describe the gratitude for all that's been done for me. I'm very close to opening up my own business so I am saving for that and looking forward to proceed with my life. The only way is up!
Darryl wouldn't be able to get to where he is without the support of Sammis one of our amazing Partners at Vineyard Compassion and he oversees the Green Pastures apartments in Coleraine. It is wonderful to see the passion he has for coming alongside people and helping them in their journey towards stability and also in their faith.
They have a desire to see the project growing to help even more homeless or struggling people who need a home like this in their area.