Our Christmas Campaign highlights the loneliness of homelessness and that with support, people can move on to a fulfilling and enjoyable life.
Your support will help other people like Sharon to move from sleeping bag to employment.
Sharon first came to the Archer Project six years ago. Now 50, she was born and brought up in the Wirral. One of four children, she was in care from the age of 4 with her younger brother, Alex, and was with the same foster family until the age of 14 when she moved into a children’s home after her foster mother offered to adopt her but not her brother. Sharon describes the children’s home as the happiest time of her childhood. Alex wasn’t in the same home but they could visit each other freely which they did. After leaving the home at 17 and having a semi-independent life, she settled into a relationship and started a family. The turning point was Alex died. Sharon was 29 and the loss seemed unbearable. She tried to take her own life and, looking back, it affected her. In the following years she fell into drug addiction and petty crime. This continued when she moved to Sheffield in 1997. Around 2010 she started to put her life together again first by becoming a Recovery Champion at the Together Women Project and then discovering the Archer Project in 2014 – by helping others and giving a bit back she also realised she still needed help herself. Sharon says: “The counselling I had at the Project taught me how to be nice to myself.”
Through the support at the project, where she started working in the laundry, then the stores and on reception she has met her current partner and now works in the kitchen preparing food – having discovered a passion for cooking, which has also led her to growing her own herbs. “I am a quiet person naturally but here I feel safe and have sort of come out of my shell. It feels familiar here and the staff are great – no one has ever judged me, but they all know what is good for me. I have learnt new skills and at the moment I am working at Printed By us printing T- shirts to support the One Run campaign in December. I also run and did my first 10K 2 years ago which I am so proud of – there’s no way I could have even thought that was possible before coming here.”
As she has dealt with some of the issues of her childhood and past life she’s been able to develop good relationships with her family. Home feels like a home, a safe place and a place of opportunity. She still has bad days when she retreats from the world but the team at the Archer Project keep encouraging her and bringing her back into the Project. “They never give up on me here and even though I worry about letting people down they never ever let me feel like that. I’ve always moved on when I think I’ve failed but the Project doesn’t let me feel like that. They treat me like a person. I feel very fortunate and am happy.”
By supporting our Christmas Campaign, you are helping us to support others like Sharon to move from sleeping bag to employment.