I work full time…but I’ve spent 4 years living in a disused shed.
When I was in my twenties, both my parents died. Afterwards, my brother and I lived together, but when he moved out to live with his girlfriend I couldn’t afford the flat’s rent on my own. I ended up living in my van. That was a real low point.
I felt ashamed… and distanced myself from my family.
They were desperately worried, and fortunately got in touch. I broke down completely and accepted help, moving to an unused shed on land near to one of my brothers.
I’ve made this place ‘home’. It didn’t have any light until I got hold of some LED strip lights, and wired them to a battery. I made a makeshift oven with two pieces of metal grill, and handwash clothes in water from an outside tap. A south wind brings rain through knot holes in the wood, so I move my books to keep them dry.
I’ve been a gardener and a musician, performing in care homes. The pandemic stopped me working, so I had nothing, which was frightening. Then I got a job washing cars. I worked damn hard from day one as I need that job. Washing cars might sound boring, but I love it. I cycle 13 miles each day on a 1937 bicycle with 2 gears. At the garage all the lads’ clothes smell of fabric softener. That kills me because I can’t get my clothes as clean.
Four years living in the shed’s been hard, physically and mentally. Simple tasks are very difficult. I spend weekends chopping wood, washing clothes and making sure my bike is in good repair.
I want somewhere warm to live, with houseplants. To clean my clothes with ease and have an oven to cook proper meals.
Small things that people take for granted.
I didn’t know how to start moving on from here… until Nick came to visit.
Recently, my brother reached out to Turning Tides. No-one knew I was hidden away here, and I didn’t know how to start moving on. But when Nick came to visit he understood what I was going through. I felt reassured. He always seems to be there if I’ve got any problems, helping me get wood and shopping. He’s helped with paperwork, the council, and more. I’m in the system now and things are looking much more hopeful.
They – and the people who support them – have helped me get moving forwards. I’m on the up, things are moving, a path of change.
Turning Tides have given me hope… more than I had.