Alex was physically abused as a child by his mum and her partners. He ran away from home to escape the abuse and ending up sleeping on the streets. He found Nightstop online and now he is in supported accommodation.
“I had quite a rough upbringing to be fair. I grew up with my mam and she had quite a few partners through my childhood. There was house parties every night of the week and random men would come to the door. I was beaten up a lot, for doing things that kids do. Say I was sick or something like that, I’d get beaten up.
“I used to run to my auntie’s to feel safe, but I was brought back. I struggled all the way through school, but that’s where I felt most safe. So I tried to be in school as much as I could. I’d always be the earliest person there. As soon as I woke up at home it would be a war, so I tried to get out as quick as I could.
“One day when I was 16, I came home and asked for something to eat. I got a boiling cup of coffee shot at me, including the cup. I just ran off. I don’t even think I had shoes on. I was on the streets for a bit and then I ended up going back to my mam’s as I had nowhere else to go. I was there until I was about 18 and then it was totally done. It was just a toxic situation so I left. Then I was homeless, I was on the streets.
“It was a nightmare. I didn’t have any covers and at night I’d probably get about two to three hours’ sleep before it would start raining, or I’d get woken up. At one point I was walking up hills and trying to find streams and things like that to wash in.
“I had nowhere to go. All day I’d just be wandering about. I was begging people for food. I didn’t want money – I wanted food. I never felt safe. I was constantly looking over my shoulder. People would start kicking me and fights were made. That was life. I was just trying to get through the days.
“A low point, I remember, was when I got weed on – waking up to that made everything sink in. Like, you are on the streets mate. It’s horrible. It makes you feel bottom grade of anything.
“I found Nightstop online. Martin from Depaul UK rang me. He made sure I was comfortable with everything about it. He explained to me that I wasn’t alone, and that I’d be able to get help, and stay with a Nightstop host.
“It was absolutely amazing. The host, Sue, had food on straight away. She made me feel comfortable and right at home. I got a shower and she showed me where I’d be sleeping. I had my own bedroom. We sat down together to eat. She asked me questions and made me feel heard. I felt safer there than in my own home. It was the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever experienced in my whole entire life. I realised I wasn’t as alone as I thought I was.
“Martin took me shopping and he got me some clothes. While I was in Nightstop he found me a place in supported accommodation, and now I go shopping and cook for myself. Martin has been non-stop helping me – he still texts me to see how I am. Nightstop was like a stepping stone to a new life. It turned my life around.
“I couldn’t thank Depaul UK and Nightstop enough.”