Peer mentor Paddy’s success story

6 October 2019 by

If it wasn’t for Shelter and Colette I’d be dead. I’m so grateful.

It takes great spirit to go from living on the streets and struggling with addiction to becoming a peer mentor helping homeless people – but that’s exactly what Paddy has accomplished.

Like so many people who become homeless, Paddy was just unlucky. In the space of a year, his beloved nan died, he broke his leg, and the he lost his job. With nowhere to turn for support, he became homeless, dependent on alcohol and heroin.

It was then that Paddy met Colette, one of our peer mentors, who had been through similar experiences. Her deep level of empathy and offer of help proved pivotal.

‘I knew Colette wasn’t lying,’ Paddy explains. ‘The stuff she told me really resonated. I thought, well, if you’ve got clean and you’re doing what you’re doing, there’s still a chance for me.’

Taking his chance

Paddy got into rehab and began treatment. He relapsed but stuck with it, remembering what Colette had told him about her own rehab story.

Eventually, Paddy was able to stay drug-free and found a place in a dry house. Looking for some purpose in his life, Paddy then started volunteering for Shelter.

‘My line manager said, “why don’t you try for a job?” It was a bit of a leap of faith because I was still homeless, but I got it. The same day I started I got a council place. Now my partner’s pregnant and we’re having a baby.’

A new chapter

Paddy has just passed his six-month probationary period as a peer mentor: ‘I know a good percentage of the clients and a lot of them say, “I can’t believe you’ve done it, Paddy.” They must think, if I can do it, they can do it – just like I used to with Colette.’

Colette is now a Lead Worker for the Peer Mentor service. She says one of her proudest achievements is seeing Paddy become such a valued member of the team.

Your support helps so much in making stories like Paddy’s happen – please consider donating regularly so we can help even more people.

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