A former rough sleeper has described how support from Peterborough City Council helped to turn his life around. Barry McKinsley found himself sleeping under a bush for several days as his life took a turn for the worst after several terrible experiences, including his daughter’s mother taking her own life and a struggle with addictions.
However, thanks to the city council’s rough sleeper team he was placed into temporary accommodation and is delighted to be back seeing his family including his 11-year-old daughter.
Barry, who also has his own YouTube cooking channel, said: “Things were not going right for me, and I ended up sleeping rough several months ago; I didn’t have a lot of people around me.
“The council’s outreach team came to see me, and they were very helpful, providing me with food and accommodation at a B and B – they were an absolute Godsend.
“I started to attend a lot of meetings to get me on the right track, and I always attended all the meetings to make sure I was on target. From there I went to another shared accommodation property, and now I have moved on to Lincoln House.
“I have had to help myself get through it – it’s been a massive turnaround; I don’t do alcohol anymore and my family are very happy – it’s all going the right way.”
He is one of 126 homeless people who have been helped off the streets this year by Peterborough City Council’s Rough Sleeper team
His story was one of many shared as part of World Homeless Day on Tuesday.
The global campaign aims to draw attention to the needs of people who experience homelessness locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness.
The city council was recently successful in receiving £343,500 of targeted funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The funds will be used to bolster current support for those who are rough sleeping. As well as enabling some current services to be extended until April 2025, the funding has also been used to provide specialist and targeted support.
For instance, a specific adult social care worker will support rough sleepers who have care and support needs to ensure that these are identified, and their needs addressed.
So far this year Peterborough City Council has helped 126 rough sleepers to get off the streets into across the city and beyond.
Cllr Steve Allen, deputy leader and Cabinet member for housing and communities, said: “Nobody wants to see people sleeping on our streets, but Barry’s story shows that we can help those who do find themselves in that position; Barry has shown the motivation to change his life and deserves great credit.
“We should also congratulate our rough sleeper team, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help people in need on our streets, often in very difficult circumstances.”
As part of World Homeless Day Peterborough City Council has prepared several videos highlighting the journeys of rough sleepers who have been helped, including another man in his 60s who slept in his car for several weeks but is now living in a flat in Peterborough.
For more information go to www.peterborough.gov.uk/residents/housing/rough-sleeping/rough-sleeper-support-services
BARRY’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
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