It started off as a quiz between mates, but now Jay is star of the show as he poses questions to over 180,000 people every week. During May the virtual pub quiz star chose to fundraise for The Connection, and has raised nearly £50,000 to support rough sleepers.
When The Connection at St Martin’s first knew Jay eleven years ago, life was quite different for the Virtual Pub Quiz host. We first met Jay when one of our outreach workers left a card under his head where he slept on the streets of London.
The Connection is there for people when things in their lives have gone profoundly wrong, and there is nowhere else to turn. For Jay, after the death of his grandfather – his father-figure – when he was a teenager, he found making decisions about jobs and education difficult. Eventually, after a job that didn’t work out and a relationship breakdown, he found himself sofa-surfing and then sleeping rough.
After sleeping on the streets for two years, Jay came to The Connection’s night centre. Jays says: “That first day in there was absolutely incredible. I got to speak to the key worker and told him all about my situation… it was the first time in two years someone wanted to help me.”
That key worker was Pete, who has worked at The Connection since 1988 and is still with us today. He remembers Jay as a “genuine, supportive guy, always putting his front foot forward.” About Jay, he says what he’s doing now doesn’t surprise him, as he always wanted to help and support others.
With help from The Connection, Jay got into a hostel before getting a room in a shared house.
The Connection believes that everyone, no matter their situation, has their own unique talents and strengths. Working with people to improve their wellbeing, learn new skills and increase their confidence – as well as providing practical support – is the best way to help people in the long-term. It was through weekly football sessions, art groups and mental health support, that Jay built his confidence and started getting control of his life again – working in hospitality and pubs and eventually becoming a pub landlord!
Jay now lives in Lancashire with his wife and child and is supporting others as he connects with thousands of others across the world virtually.
We are so grateful for Jay’s support – particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time, we have been working around the clock to help secure suitable accommodation for rough sleepers to help them to self-isolate and stay safe and well. So far, over 350 people in Westminster have been helped into hotels. We are also preparing and delivering three meals a day, and delivering essentials like medication and toiletries.
You can find out more about how we are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic here .