‘On New Year’s Eve in 2017 my husband had a sudden heart attack and passed away just two days later.’
Shortly afterwards my Mum also passed away. I had just been spending my time looking after her since my Dad had died. Mum had gone to a local church, and after the start of the year I had just experienced I decided to carry on attending the same church – the people there were lovely.
That summer someone came to the church to talk to us about the Night Shelter and afterwards the minister suggested I tried volunteering there. It was Christmas before I really heard any more, and I did a couple of sessions volunteering in the Shelter in Birmingham before doing several nights in the Wolverhampton Shelter over Christmas. Straightaway I just loved it. It soon became a regular Tuesday evening for me, and it wasn’t long before I was asked if I would be a supervisor. Although it wasn’t something that I would naturally go for, I did think it was an opportunity to make Tuesday nights feel like a proper home for the guys. I wanted it to be a sanctuary, a place of rest, with no worries and a peaceful night’s sleep. It was about getting to know the guys as well.
Before long the opportunity to be a paid supervisor came along which was by then my dream job. When the covid pandemic hit and we were forced to close, we were re-deployed into the Redwings Hotel along with all the guys from the Shelter. We were there doing twelve-hour day shifts, but it all worked really well. Seeing first-hand the problems that all the guys were having, particularly the ones from Eastern Europe, I began to passionately believe that I wanted to help them in the longer term. What eventually came out of it was the opportunity to work with them all through Enterprise Homes which is what I am doing now. Now every day I love it. It’s challenging but I love them all.
*Name and photo have been changed to protect the identity of the person