In 2014 Mark moved to Cornwall to be closer to his children. Redruth to be precise. He was aged 43. It was a massive decision for him, though he felt it was the right thing to do. He was determined to develop a healthy relationship with his three children, but it presented a number of significant challenges that would test anyone.

Homeless and alone
“I was living in a new area, with no friends or connections with people of any kind, with very little money to my name.” said Mark.

Initially Mark struggled to secure long term accommodation and paid work. He quickly found himself homeless, with few options and without the support network of nearby friends and family, it was a particularly tough period, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Around this time Mark found Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change (CN4C), which exist to support people to make positive change in their lives. Mark began to tackle aspects of his life that was preventing him from getting back to being the person he once was. 

Help from CN4C
With support from Rosi and Tarn at CN4C, Mark started to make positive changes that enabled him to turn things around. Mark was supported in seeking employment, providing assistance for clothes to attend interviews and use of their resources. This led to Mark securing a job with Reed Work Routes in Redruth. This alone was a huge positive step, helping to build Mark’s confidence and feeling of self-worth. Something very important to him in building a relationship with his children.

At his lowest, Mark was facing a number of uphill struggles. He was homeless, which in turn led to a period of depression and anxiety. Mark was not able to have regular meals, he had little money and faced mounting debts. On top of that he was finding it difficult to secure regular contact with his children, the very reason he came to Cornwall in the first place.

Breaking down barriers one by one
Initially CN4C, through Pluss’ Positive People programme, was able to offer Mark shower facilities and food. The team signposted Mark to a mens support group called Mandown. This group helped Mark’s depression and led to him making a number of good friends. 

Mark was slowly building a support network around him and no longer felt alone.

“The CN4C staff were so helpful and amazing helping me to find my way back to being me again. This gave me the confidence I needed to achieve my goals.”, added Mark.

Mark was directed to a local food bank and meal events at the CN4C centre, which was also a source of social contact with other people for him to talk to about life. He was given support to take control of his debts and budget his money. This was a major source of stress, which affects so many people.

“I’m now in communication with those who I have debts with and I’m managing it, rather than ignoring them and pretending they will go away.” added Mark.

The CN4C team helped Mark find suitable accommodation. They were able to provide options through their extensive local links and they have first class knowledge of current housing issues.

Getting control back
“Ultimately, CN4C gave me the help I needed to get some control back into my life. They gave me the confidence to stand up as a father and obtain access to my children and be recognised as a parent.” said Mark proudly.

Today Mark is living in a rented flat with his two youngest children. 

Mark concluded: “It’s difficult to put into words the difference the amazing people at CN4C have made to my life. I’m so grateful for their support. I dread to think where I’d be today without their help. It’s fair to say CN4C has changed my life and helped to create a life I can be proud of. I’m even being supported to start my own business.

“CN4C helps broken people to rebuild and find the person they used to be before a crisis or trauma. I’ve experienced a lot of trauma in my life, through some horrible events, so I feel blessed to be alive. The support I’ve received has been amazing. I can’t thank Rosi, Tarn and the team enough. Thank you.”

The future
Rosi Jolly, CN4C engagement worker said: “The support from Pluss helped Mark to get a laptop and access business support services, which ultimately led to getting a small business loan, which has brought him to the point where he can now build himself a small, local business.”

Mark’s plans for 2021 is to launch and deliver a Reggae Rickshaws business in Redruth and move to a house with a garden. Watch this space!