FOR Nick, St Vincent’s was a vital part of getting his life back together – and now is repaying that help as a volunteer.
He had drink and drug problems from an early age as part of an attempt to cope with the pain of illness.
Nick says he realises now that his selfish and criminal behaviour alienated his family. He stole from them to buy drink and drugs.
He said: “I started when I was seven or eight with the drinking. I can’t remember much of my life from 10 years. Eventually I ended up in the Northern General and went on to rehab in Rotherham.”
The homeless charity Nomad helped Nick to set up home when he came out of rehabilitation and St Vincent’s gave him the furniture he needed for his new start in life.
“They helped me out. I thought it was brilliant.”
He now works for St Vincent’s twice a week, helping to sort out crockery, cutlery and smaller household items, some of which he makes up into starter packs.
The part of the warehouse where he works is piled high with boxes where goods are carefully and neatly sorted out. Knives and forks vie for spaces with cutlery and even ornaments. Some items are sent to the St Vincent’s charity shops to sell.
Nick had to move away from people who were encouraging him to continue his addictions, so inevitably he became quite isolated.
Now he has friends among the team at St Vincent’s.
He added: “I feel a lot better than what I did.
“I was really a loner. This place has really brought me out of myself.”
Nick added: “I feel like I’m doing something good, not like when I was hanging round in the streets.
“I really enjoy coming in. It gets me out of the house.
“I’m helping other people but I’m really helping me.”