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Ribbleton man shares his story of life on the streets to give hope to the homeless

Posted on - 3rd December, 2019 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Housing, Preston News, Ribbleton
Andy and Emma

More than 300 people took part in the Big PNE Sleep Out at Deepdale in November.

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The event, hosted by Preston North End (in partnership with Biffa and Blog Preston) raised over £50,000 for The Foxton Centre.

The funding will go towards the charity’s Housing First scheme which puts a roof over the heads of rough sleepers in the city.

After reading about the Big PNE Sleep Out, one of our readers to got in touch with us.

Ribbleton man Andrew Singleton wanted to share his story about being homeless.

In 2007 due to his employment contract ending, Andrew was unable to secure a new job and unfortunately ended up having to live on the streets for six months.

He felt that a few factors contributed to this including his dad dying the previous year.

He said: “Being homeless wasn’t nice for me, I did try begging but I couldn’t do it wasn’t my thing to beg.

“I used to go to old market carpark stairwell to sleep at night, to keep dry during the winter months.

“I also I slept on top of the Guild Hall.

“I didn’t have any cardboard, All I had was the clothes that I was wearing.

“The floor was always cold. I did once sleep in a door way which is now The Larder.

“Sometimes at night when people where coming out of clubs, I used to get coins thrown at me and often people would shout; tramp get a job!

“I’d either go without food or to get food I went to soup kitchens.
But I can tell you it’s not a very nice experience to be homeless and living on the streets.”

Read more: Big PNE Sleep Out donations pay-in event at The Foxton Centre

Andrew feels he is lucky to get the help that he did at the right time.

“I used different soup kitchens from St James church to Baptist church on Fishergate and I also used the Foxton centre who helped me to get on the Community Gateway housing list. It made me feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Although the six months were a tremendously difficult time for him, Andrew wants other homeless people in Preston to know how he was eventually housed.

“In June 2007, I stopped using the Foxton centre because they managed to get me a place at Fox Street night shelter. I became a volunteer in the kitchen at Fox Street to make meals for other residents which I enjoyed.

“Two months later I moved out of Fox Street whilst it went under refurbishment into temporary accommodation.

“In October 2007, I was offered a flat with Community Gateway which I accepted straight away.”

Read more: Pictures show the great work done by the Foxton Centre

Andrew is now in a great place and wants others to know that there is hope.

“In 2009 I found my partner and her daughter.

“A year later I moved in with them and got engaged. In 2013 I started employment with Home Bargains and over 6 years later, I still work for them.

“In May 2018 me and my wife Emma got married. My stepdaughter is 12 now. I am so happy now and sometimes I think about the past.

“I would now say to other people who are still living on the streets there is help out there and you just need to find and step on the ladder to find the right people to help you, that’s what I did.”

What can be done to reduce homelessness in Prestn? Let us know what ou think in the comments section.

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