September 2010 - Part 3
|Ian Walker, an ex-tenant of All Saints project, recently got back in touch with us. Author Jon McGregor has just published a novel based on the real-life experiences of Ian (and others), called "Even the Dogs". The book is centred around life on the streets in Nottingham. |
Stephen Simpson-Housley, current tenant of Dale Street project interviewed Ian.
Can you give us a sense of what life was like for you on the streets?
It was about ten years ago, I was homeless, living on the streets. I was unkempt and I had body lice. I used to sleep under bridges with rats running around or sometimes I'd go to the hostel at London Road roundabout - it wasn't nice like it is since they renovated it though. There were just curtains between each bed and things got stolen. I had to eat at various soup kichens around the city and I was injecting heroin every day.
How did you end up at All Saints and what was it like there?
I got onto Methadone, they wouldn't have allowed me in otherwise. Finally I was warm, clean and shaven. I felt rebourn. I've got really fond memories of All Saints. I had a structured weekly plan to keep me away from my old haunts and someone to talk to in my keyworker, Sandra. I was given a camera to take some pictures with, it made me feel great to do that. I also kept a diary and it helped me to recognise patterns of behaviour that weren't helping me.
What is your life like now?
I've been happily married for two years, I've got children, a car, a place to live - all the 'normal' things. I go to work, I have holidays and I pay bills. I was working for the Probation Service, using my experience to help drug users. I loved that, putting something back, but I was made redundant. Now I work as a cleaner but I do voluntary work as well.
How do you see your future?
I don't know, I am content with what I've got now. I might do a degree in Social Policy in the future, but I'm not sure. I haven't got any big plans, I'm just enjoying my life.
What advice would you give for being able to see a more hopeful future?
Try and stay positive, take one day at a time but stick to a plan and keep a diary. Talk to Support Workers and see what services or support groups there are that might help you.