Gary was street homeless for over twenty years. He came down from Yorkshire when he was in his early twenties. Struggling with alcohol addiction, he found himself on the streets:

“I’d lose track of looking after myself, I wouldn’t wash myself, I wouldn’t eat for days on end. Wouldn’t have a shower, wouldn’t do me washing. Because I was out on the streets. I didn’t want to know people.”

It took a long time. But eventually, with the help of staff at The Connection, Gary started to cut down his drinking and make positive steps away from the street:

“If The Connection hadn’t been there I’d probably still be out. They’ve just encouraged me to get my life together and I’ve done it. So I’m going further on now, in a journey.”

“I had to think about it when I was out there. I was attacked, beaten up, urinated on, thrown bottles at, but I thought ‘why is this life like this? Is it worth staying out here or getting back indoors?’

So I’ve had to think, and at end of the day I think I’ve done the right thing, coming back indoors and working on it, and staying in there.”
Gary now lives in supported housing nearby and volunteers at The Connection every Thursday, helping Day Centre Manager Toby and the team welcome new clients in:

“Me, I’m buzzing. I mean, I volunteer. I’m getting confidence to try to help guys who’ve been out for years. Trying to encourage them. I’ve got a fantastic relationship with this project here: The Connection. They’ll always be there, they’ve helped me.”