(4 Min Read)
There should be more places like this, this place has turned my life around, I’d be dead I think by now if I wasn’t here, I was in a bad way when I got here. If you saw me in October what I was like compared to now, it’s like I’m two different people. This place saved my life’.
Angie moved into The Bridge in October 2020. Since arriving she has been working with the team at the Bridge to bring down her alcohol and drug usage having been clean since New Year’s Eve. Following this so she has also reconnected with her family.‘I could never in a million years have imagined I’d have been able to achieve this.’ Says Angie ‘2021 is my year now, it’s working for me.’ Before moving in, Angie had been rough sleeping for 17 years.
‘I used to sofa surf, rent rooms when I had the money to but also spend a lot of time sleeping outdoors. It has been hard but since I’ve been at The Bridge I’ve been a lot happier. I get a lot of support from people here and the workers are fantastic. Before I moved in here I’d been sleeping at an underground station for a couple of years.’ Moving in was a big step for Angie.‘ I’d been offered a hostel before, but sometimes hostels aren’t the best place for you. I knew people who’d been in hostels so I’d seen them, and I knew they weren’t the best places for me. I’d been to view one and it didn’t look right, so I thought I’d take my chances on the street instead. I was thankful for what they tried to do for me at that time, but going into that hostel wasn’t going to help me manage my drug use due to the people in there.’ Having made a decision that being in a hostel wasn’t the best place, Angie said ‘I thanked them for what they had done, but for me at that time, it was better to go back on the street.’
This time though was different for Angie who felt different about The Bridge, which contrasts from traditional hostels in many ways. ‘I was nervous to come in here at the beginning But right now I don’t want to leave to be honest with you. This place has completely turned it around for me. I know I have to leave, and it’s exciting in a way. They’re going to get me a flat, I get a choice in where I go which is important to me as I’ll know the environment I’d like to be in. I know I’m very lucky to get that and I’m very grateful.’
Because she slept outside previously, Angie improvised to make some adjustments when she was in her own room. She wasn’t used to sleeping in the quiet so used the TV or radio to create background noise. ‘I can’t sleep if I turn it off.’ The streets can be dangerous and so many rough sleepers try and be alert during the night time. ‘When I first came in I used to sleep during the day too and be awake at night because that’s what I used to do on the streets.’ Of late, Angie has developed a routine, and has been sleeping during the evening. ‘Now for the first time I don’t wake up craving alcohol, I actually have a cup of coffee on a morning. Like sitting outside and having my cup of coffee, especially when the sun is shining it’s a nice feeling. For you to understand how significant it is for me to do things like that you have to understand where I was before. I was depressed and I would lay down all day. I feel like my confidence has been brought up in here and I feel more secure’.
Being on the streets is hard as a woman but seeking shelter can be hard too. ‘I was nervous coming here but on the first day I got here they greeted me and were so cool that I ended up breaking down. That matters you know, it matters a lot: it’s not like the other places that I’ve seen and visited my mates at. The way you’re treated here by the staff actually reflects really well on the staff and on their own characters and personality. It’s not just me that’s changed I’ve seen other people come in, and I’ve seen them slowly start to change too.’
£45: The Cost of a nights stay at The Bridge. You can support our work by donating below..