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Homeless domestic abuse survivor now supports people without a home

Homeless domestic abuse survivor now supports people without a home

Hundreds of people each year in the UK find themselves homeless after fleeing domestic abuse. Customer Ragnar was one of those statistics.

He found himself homeless after experiencing a toxic relationship that became abusive and had no other option but to leave. After ringing around for support, he found Concrete, and we helped him to secure a home and gave him the support to build a solid future for not just for himself but for others too.

After being supported through his own trauma and securing Concrete futures, Ragnar now helps concrete customers going through similar things by volunteering as a peer mentor. His role is to be there for customers and provide support as someone that’s been through homelessness. We caught up with him and this is what he had to say.

“I’d been homeless in the 90s and then again more recently when I was living with my wife. We’d both really suffered with our mental health and things just started to get really hostile. She would pour water over me, snap my cigarettes and would even pour wine over me.

One morning I woke up and I’d just had enough. I couldn’t take it anymore. So, I packed my phone, charger and some clothes into a bag and walked out.

I had nowhere to stay, so I went to my friend’s house to use his computer and look for a place. I looked online and found Concrete and gave them a call. They offered me accommodation and a support worker to help me get my life back on track.

I moved into shared accommodation in Stoke and made some friends, some of which I still speak to now and we catch up whenever we see each other. There I got support that helped me to get back on my feet.

When I was ready, I decided to look for my own place, my support worker helped me with the process and within a week I was moved in! With support from my dad and Concrete the place felt like home quickly and I’ve been here ever since.

Once I got settled, I found myself getting restless and wanted to do something with my time. My support worker mentioned about becoming a peer mentor and I knew it was a bit of me. I always liked helping people when I could, and I loved the idea of being able to give back. So, I joined with no questions asked!

Now, as a peer mentor, I use my own experiences and I’m just real and honest. I help people to achieve their goals and talk through problems and I don’t rush them to make decisions they’re not ready for. I’ve been in their shoes so I know how hard it can be. Everyone has their own battles and sometimes we just need a helping hand and that’s what I do.

It’s such a rewarding thing to do. I was helping someone that went to the same high school as me. I did everything I could to help him. Then recently he started coping on his own and didn’t need my help. I was so proud and chuffed to be able to make a difference to his life.

I love being a peer mentor! I would tell anyone thinking of doing it, to just do it!”

Do you have lived experience of homelessness and want to make a difference to someone currently experiencing homelessness?

Join our peer mentor program today: www.thisisconcrete.org.uk/peer-mentors/

Call 0330 094 5558

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