Mark’s story

"Having someone there to walk you through each step, and having a place to come home to each night, can really help.”

Mark from Trafford had a transformative 2016 after battling mental health issues and debt. Thanks to a stay at Old Trafford homelessness scheme Pomona Gardens, he has turned his life around.

In March this year, when his mother passed away, Mark struggled with his mental health. He confronted substance misuse, ran out of money and even attempted to take his own life. Today, following a diploma course in health and social care, he now lives independently and is employed by Phoenix Futures – a rehabilitation service and one of the organisations he says saved his life.

He puts this success down to his stay at a supported housing scheme. Pomona Gardens is run by Manchester-based housing association Great Places and provides accommodation and support for homeless people aged 18–65 years from Trafford – helping them to overcome mental health issues, relationship breakdowns and drug and alcohol problems.

The staff at Pomona Gardens supported Mark throughout his stay by teaching him skills for independent living, helping him with the necessary forms and assessments to get his benefits in order, and driving him to appointments. This allowed him to start applying for diploma courses and begin getting back on his feet.

Mark said: “Without Great Places’ supported housing and the services of Phoenix Futures, I would most likely be dead now, which is why I wanted to give something back through my work. When people show up somewhere like Pomona Gardens, there can be so many issues to tackle that sometimes even a phone call can be daunting. But having someone there to walk you through each step, and having a place to come home to each night, can really help.”

Claire Alcock, Great Places Service Manager, who worked closely with Mark while he stayed at the scheme, said: “I really believe the services we provide through supported housing are essential. If we weren’t here, I don’t know where our customers would go. Mark came to the scheme already appreciating this and he used Pomona Gardens for what he needed – a place to call his own and make some big life changes before he moved on.

“He was so engaged, right from the start. He had plans in place when he came to the scheme – he knew where he wanted to be and what he needed from us. His drive to improve his life was evident. We’re so proud of Mark’s transformation over the last year and we can’t wait to see everything he achieves in 2017.”

Help raise awareness

Thousands of people have gained their independence through supported housing. The Starts at Home campaign aims to ensure that people who need extra support will always have a home that meets their needs.

Get involved