Since we began in 1969 we have focused on supporting people to develop the skills needed to rebuild their lives. By providing classes and workshops, our Participation and Development teams encourage active participation and greater social interaction.
We believe meaningful activities are central to providing structure, purpose, wellbeing, intellectual stimulation, self-esteem and independence for people like Julie as they move through their journey out of homelessness.
“I think art is one of the ways you can change the world, especially your own world. You become the creator and you are no longer a victim.
“I became homeless in 2016 after losing my job. It was a nightmare but I’m lucky that I was never on the streets. I found a place to sleep every night and I now live in an emergency accommodation service. I first went along to the Simon Community’s Soup Run and then little by little I got involved in their Social Club.
“I love the Social Club. I still go every Monday and Wednesday. Through the Social Club I got to join the Simon Dance group and art classes and then became involved in the Client Action Group.
“What I like about Simon is they use art as way of therapy. You provide people the space so that people can choose what they want to do, like writing and creative writing. I got the opportunity to become a volunteer with Simon’s Health and Wellbeing service and I was with them almost for a year. I want to work as a healthcare assistant so in the meantime Simon supported me in doing the courses I needed.
“When I finished my training I wanted to start to look for work so my keyworker linked me in with Simon’s Community Employment Scheme. I’m looking forward to starting back working. My next focus is finding permanent accommodation and I have a couple of people in Simon helping me with that. Right now it’s all in process but it does take time.
“Simon give you the support to become who you are and decide what they want to do next. That way you don’t feel like you’re on the outside. You have to provide the space for the people to learn for themselves how to not be the victims but become the subjects of their own lives. That’s what we are all trying to do.”
*Julie’s name has been changed and a stock image used to protect her identity.