Phil Heckels of Worthing (38), also known as Hercule Van Wolfwinkle, could never have believed that his “rubbish” drawings would raise over £20,000 in just over a month for our charity. He has been plunged into the limelight – becoming a global sensation overnight! Overwhelming support of this local artist has raised the profile of homelessness in our community and raised an enormous amount to support local men and women who have nowhere to call home.
In August 2019, after 25 years living and working in Brighton/Hove, privately renting for many years and always paying the rent on time, I found myself abruptly and unfairly evicted. My rent had tripled overnight, so suddenly I was unable to continue my tenancy. In the blink of an eye my life had completely unravelled – I was homeless.
A friend at the time invited me to stay in her home as she had a spare room. Within the first week I realised it had been a mistake to move there but I didn’t know just how hard it would become and how our friendship would deteriorate. The house was always ridiculously cold; it was hard to sleep at night it was that cold. There was condensation and black mould which ruined the few belongings I did have, and there was no hot water. It wasn’t at all a healthy environment. It eventually reached the point where I was unable to stay any longer – after 18 months I had to leave for my own sanity – it was a hellish place to live and because of the way my friend and her mother treated me I just felt paranoid and anxious all the time.
Ten local running enthusiasts are going to put their physical fitness – and courage – to the test by taking to the sea for the first time. The brave runners have announced the ambitious plan to swim a staggering ten miles from Brighton Pier to Worthing Pier on Saturday 18th September.
The Rampion Champions are infectiously enthusiastic about their swim challenge and every week they brave the cold waters to build up their strength and stamina for September’s swim. We really want them to smash their fundraising target of £3,000 and they have surpassed £2,000 already!
This April Turning Tides have launched a Crisis Appeal for public support as escalating numbers of local people become homeless.
We are seeing unprecedented numbers of local people lose their livelihoods and their homes, as a result of Covid. We work across the county to support men and women who have become homeless or who are at risk of losing their home. Our services are now under huge pressure and we are appealing for urgent public support as a ‘homeless crisis in our community’ unfolds.
In recent months, an upsurge across the north and south of the county has been reported in the number of people presenting as homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. In Worthing, for example, the number of people reporting as homeless doubled last year. Further north, Horsham has received a 216% increase in people sleeping rough in the district during the pandemic.
Our charity is currently supporting almost 500 men and women throughout our countywide services. We are appealing to the community to donate whatever they can afford to enable us to provide the support that is so desperately needed by a growing number of people.
The charity really has been such a godsend. If I could rate them on an app, I would press on the five stars all day long. Without their support and those who help fund the charity, I honestly do not know where I would be right now. It honestly frightens me to think about it.
This last year my life has been like a game of Jenga with blocks falling rapidly one after the other. I never want to sleep rough or become homeless ever again. I so desperately want to go back to some sort of normal and Turning Tides is giving me that opportunity. I know my story is one of many and I’m not out of the woods yet but I am proof that becoming homeless can happen to anyone – especially now. I cannot believe it happened to me and I’ll be forever grateful to Turning Tides and all those who support them.
Launched on 1st February, Turning Tides were delighted by the success of the new style virtual event which saw over 102 competition entries across the four categories and over 1,500 public votes, with the event reaching almost 9,000 people. Everyone, from babies to pets, neighbours to family, colleagues to congregations were invited to enter the Woolly Hat themed social media photo competition – with some awesome prizes up for grabs!
This month sees us launch our Christmas Appeal – in response to a looming crisis in our community as homelessness escalates this winter. Covid is taking a rising number of jobs and livelihoods, leaving local men and women without a home – just as the harsh winter months and a second wave of the pandemic approach.For those living on the streets, it is hard enough to find food, and stay warm and dry. But Christmas can bring heartache too – it highlights what is missing from a person’s life: family, food, safety, happiness.
At Turning Tides, we are determined that Christmas will not be cancelled. Caring is never cancelled and we want these men and women to know they are not alone. 90% of the people we support are local people – they are our neighbours – and we’d like to show them that their local community cares.
When you live on the streets, you just can’t see how you are going to do anything else with your life. It takes everything out of you to just survive and you lose hope of achieving anything else. Gradually, depression, despair and embarrassment took hold and as my circle of friends decreased, I had no one to turn to. For five long years, I simply survived.
Turning Tides is a really progressive and caring organisation. Whilst we support and care for vulnerable people in our community – it is matched with the compassion shown towards its staff. There is a real learning culture in the charity. I have attended some amazing co-production training delivered by clients – an ethos firmly routed in the charity.