Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the staff at The Sheffield Foyer, a housing scheme for young homeless people, resident Chris Wilcox has been given the chance to turn his life around and have hope for a brighter future.

Sheffield Foyer is a specialised supported housing scheme run by Guinness Care – an organisation which also works with many older people across the country. The Foyer provides accommodation, training and support to young homeless people, aged 17-25, to enable them to live independently and safely, and help them eventually move on to their own tenancies and into employment.

 Last year, having had a difficult time at university due to suffering serious mental health problems, Chris had to withdraw from his Automotive Engineering course. This, along with the death of his mother when he was fifteen, meant he felt overwhelmed and found it difficult to communicate with people, eat or sleep well.

As he could no longer continue to live in university accommodation Chris moved into the Foyer and with the support of staff he attended appointments with a community mental health nurse. Chris started to attend Woodland Workshops, a full day in a woodland setting, offered by the Foyer in partnership with the Woodland Trust where he enjoyed being outdoors.

Having completed the Foyer’s training programme in January Chris demonstrated all the skills necessary to be able to live independently.  He began to open-up and talk about his future, feel more confident and he started to build helpful relationships.

Chris, aged 20 said: “Coming to the Foyer was like making a U-turn. I was on a downward spiral to a dark path and now I’m slowly making the climb to a better life.”

Karen Shimwell, Senior Project Worker at the Foyer said: “It’s been quite a journey for Chris, from a bad time and place to something much more hopeful. The package we put together for Chris is personalised, bespoke and meaningful for him. Time outdoors was incredibly important and Chris remembers those days in natural settings as a turning point.”

Currently, Chris is still at the Foyer.  He has started a new relationship with someone and is enjoying a new-found comfortableness with himself and others.  He is looking forward to the next stage in his life when he can move-on into his own independent accommodation.