A charity launching a fund-raising campaign hopes people will donate after reading the heart-rending story of how a homeless man came close to ending his own life.
But “Nick”, who has struggled with addiction, has battled back from the brink of desperation and managed to start to get his life back on track.
Stonepillow want to raise £98,000 to fund a 24-hour service at a new hostel set to open in the town in April. The aim is for the hostel to offer increased bed spaces.
And the tale of how one man endured suicidal thoughts, loneliness, hunger and pain before starting to rebuildin his life thanks to help and support from Stonepillow should serve, the charity hopes, to highlight their objectives.
On Stonepillow’s website Nick shares his experience of being on the streets at Christmas. He explains: “For me being homeless at Christmas was a very dark place. I would see people happy with the joys of Christmas, which made me feel very lonely and sad as I sat in shop doorways trying to keep warm. I was hungry. I was in pain.
“I didn’t want to carry on with life. I missed my family, who didn’t want anything to do with me because of my addiction and the way of life I was leading. Christmas always seemed longer on the streets on my own, I even attempted to be arrested so I could get in to a prison for a while but that didn’t work, so back to the doorways I went.
“I came to the Stonepillow Recovery Service to try and rebuild my life. I was given the chance and I took it. I have been here three months now and I have already noticed a big change in myself, I attend all the group sessions which are really helpful. I now have most of my family back in my life and I am rebuilding my relationships with them.
“Over the weekend we put Christmas decorations up, something I haven’t done in a very long time, I feel part of a community again. I feel happy and content. I can actually say that I am looking forward to Christmas this year with all of my peers at the Recovery Service.”
Stonepillow’s Laura Bulbeck said: “We are opening a new and improved hostel in Bognor in April . Homelessness has increased by 30 per cent in the last year alone. There will be an increased number of bed spaces but similar to the service we are currently providing, it will only be open overnight from 6pm to 8am.
“There is a crucial need for support to be available 24/7. Stonepillow want to meet this need by providing a 24-hour hostel, 7 days a week, 365 days a year — but to do that we need your help!
“We need to raise £98,000 to open our new hostel 24 hours a day. No one should have to sleep on the streets. The average age of death for a homeless person is 47. We are the only hostel provision for homeless people in Arun, covering a large geographical area.”