Sean was married for more than 20 years, but started drinking heavily. Things really went downhill in 1999/2000: his mum died and his wife left him. He drank even more and became homeless. At first he enjoyed the life of no responsibilities, but after a while it began to pale. Around the Millennium he found himself in a bail hostel, on probation. Here he was helped by a really good support worker who came into the hostel once a week for education work. He moved to second stage accommodation in 2001 and started volunteering for Crisis at Christmas and a project in Birmingham. He got a volunteer placement with a project in Dudley, working with people with alcohol issues. He was beginning to get stimulated to improve his lot and wanted to study more – eventually gaining access to a course at Wolverhampton College, then for a time at Wolverhampton University.
Sean spent some time living at the ‘Old Good Shepherd’ (a 54 bed hostel with attached day centre – taken over and brought up to date by P3’s new Management team in 2002/03). Some time after
leaving the hostel, he saw an advertisement for a job there and applied for it. He found it amusing that, when he attended for interview, the receptionist thought he was looking for accommodation again. However, he got the job as a full time Support Worker. This was in February 2003 and he feels he has since benefited greatly from some “very assertive support” from P3 managers: he has flourished in the job, having found something he not only enjoys, but is good at.
Since 2007 Sean has worked with a P3 outreach (CAT) team in Wolverhampton, helping individuals with complex needs get off the streets and into accommodation and support. This team has worked with the Council and managed to change the approach to working with vulnerable people on the streets, with very positive results. Sean (and his managers) believes that his personal understanding of life as a service user has been highly instrumental in this success – helping build rapport and
confidence in those they are working with.
He comments: "P3 are true to their mission statement in that they recognise and celebrate staff and clients individuality. It amazed me that they considered my application, and yes, they did look at my past, but the focus was more about my potential and the future. This has changed my life, they opened the door and life has never been better! "