In 2012, 162 Taylor Wimpey staff swapped the comfort of their own homes to take part in the first nationwide Sleep Out, including Group HR Director Maria Pilfold and Company Secretary James Jordan.
The home-builders have been long supporters of homelessness charities across the UK and have a strong partnership with Centrepoint.
Maria said: ‘We’re in the business of building homes and having a safe, warm place to go home to at the end of the day is something the majority of us take for granted.
‘We only had to spend one night sleeping rough, but this is the reality that thousands of young homeless people face on a regular basis, making the work that charities such as Centrepoint does to help them absolutely critical.’
Alex and Anna are 17 and 19 years old. They came to Scotland to stay with a relative, who helped them get jobs in a local hotel. Unfortunately, they soon discovered that their relative had serous alcohol issues, which made living with him very difficult.
Anna then discovered that she was pregnant and, to protect their child, they decided to leave their turbulent living conditions. They arrived in Edinburgh, but could not find a place to live. Alex and Anna slept in churches, but Anna got a lot of unwanted attention. They ended up on the streets.
It was bitterly cold and terrifying. They were forced to find quiet corners in parks, by the canal and under bridges where they could be dry and get some rest. They slept rough for over a week until they were told about The Rock Trust.
The Rock Trust immediately called the Edinburgh emergency housing line and two night’s accommodation was found. Alex and Anna were given a meal at The Rock Trust’s drop-in service, access to a shower, laundry facilities and a food parcel.
The Rock Trust then called a local homeless hostel, which had room for Alex and Anna. Over the next two months Anna and Alex, with the support from their Rock Trust support workers, secured benefits for Anna, employment for Alex and a temporary flat for them to live until permanent accommodation was found.
Theo’s troubles began when he lost his father to carbon monoxide poisoning. He was just three years old. Sixteen years later and soon after his 19th birthday, his mother died of cancer. As you’d imagine, Theo’s world was turned upside down. The one person he had left to care for him was gone and the future seemed a very lonely and frightening place.
As his mental state worsened, Theo decided he needed a new life. So he moved from his hometown of Middlesbrough to London. Before long, he was sleeping rough.
Theo contemplated ending his life before he joined Centrepoint. He moved into a hostel and began working with a psychiatrist to deal with his fears and anxiety. He learned how to write a CV, passed his driving test and started a physiotherapy course. He hopes to start his own physiotherapy clinic so that he can help others to overcome their problems.
“I felt like I was at the end and there was no way to go on. I felt like I had nothing to live for”
Steven’s mum died when he was just five. His dad was in prison. His only option was going into care. He was later adopted, but suffered abuse and ran away at the age of 16. He ended up living on the streets.
Homeless, young and vulnerable, Steven got involved with the wrong crowd and consequently drinks and drugs. He would steal food and alcohol just to survive and slept anywhere warm and dry he could find - a bin shed, a car park.
After six months Steven managed to find a bedsit and a job as a car cleaner, which he held down for three years. But then his bedsit was burned down and he was homeless again. He tried to keep his job going while sleeping in the car park or in some bushes, but was so tired that his work was going downhill and he got the sack. He became out of control and ended up in prison.
Steven came to Amber on release from prison and has never looked back. He hasn’t touched drugs for over a year and is currently volunteering abroad.
Becky was taken into care at the age of 15 after her dad physically abused her. At 16, she went into supported lodgings, but was soon spending a lot of time with her uncle, a known heroin user. Not only did she lose her home because of spending too many nights away, but she started misusing drugs too. She was homeless, a drug user and a victim of sexual exploitation.
Social services referred Becky to Llamau and she was given a place at Llamau’s Vale SAFE house. After moving in, Becky stopped seeing her uncle and started to make friends her own age.
Becky attended Llamau’s training department, Learning 4 Life, where she gained qualifications, experience volunteering in a playgroup and independent living skills.
When able to sustain her own tenancy, Becky moved into social housing and was supported by Llamau until she was ready to live independently.