Once I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, my life was never the same. My five children were all put into care and I was in and out of psychiatric units up until three years ago. One day the NHS Crisis team came to get me and put a six-month section on me, within which time I was evicted. They used to send me home for a night or two during the section, and I would go back to my flat and I wouldn’t be able to get in. It was after that that I ended up on the streets.
I became aware of Spring of Hope when I became homeless. I bumped into this nice guy who showed me where to go when I needed food and all that. So when I was really, really desperate, I would go there for a bed for the evening.
When I am down and low I blame myself. They just made me feel warm and I felt I belonged in society even though I felt all alone. It made me feel that there were good people out there. I was really unwell a lot of the time that I stayed at the women’s night shelter. They never gave up on me. They provided me with hot food and drink, a mattress, a nice hot shower and a hot breakfast.
It provided me with somewhere warm to come and have a talk and have a prayer with somebody. They also provided me with hope, strength and encouragement to carry on. That was four years ago. It led to better things.
Now I have got myself a one bedroom flat in Cornwall and I am happy there. But all my family are all up country. I spend a lot travelling back and forth to see them.
I still miss Val [the shelter manager]. The place means a lot to me.