Hello to all at Beeston Methodist Church and 'thank you'. My name is Brian, I'm an ex-soldier who served 25 years in the Army and through no fault of my own in Nov 2017 I found myself homeless. I was sleeping rough but still holding down a full-time job. I'm neither a drug taker nor a heavy drinker but I was very depressed about what had happened to me and I was having some really bad thoughts.

I was sleeping rough for about 3 weeks and then the bad weather hit. I was surviving but I was too proud to ask for help. Then at the end of November, it got really cold. My army training started to kick in then, I decided that I couldn't keep this up so I contacted SSAFA (the armed forces charity formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) who then put me in touch with Hope Into Action.

I met Laura and Richard in The Meadows in Nottingham and told them my story. At this point, I was still working, keeping clean, and looking after myself but I was feeling really down and depressed. I met Richard and Laura again and they told me they could get me into the Hope Into Action house in Beeston. I came over to visit the house and moved in the next day. Christmas and New Year were pretty bad, they were the first ones I'd spent on my own, it was not a good time.

I went over to the church (HOPE House on Boundary Road) a few times and met Paul Ward, the pastor there. Paul made me feel at home and I opened up to him and told him what had happened to me. He said a prayer for me and then we said a prayer together, I suddenly felt so much better, it was like a weight being lifted from my shoulders. I was still very down at this time but speaking to Paul made me realise I needed to sort myself out.

A few weeks later I met Jemma and Mick and a few other people (Steve, Roger and Sue) from Beeston Methodist Church when they came round to what I now call my house. They saw that it needed some decorating and a few DIY jobs and the team kicked into action. The room downstairs was cleaned and painted and got ready for a new person to move in. Mick and I struck up a friendship and we still try to meet up at least once a week for a brew and a natter when my shift work allows.

By this time I went for an interview for a new job with East Midlands trains, I must have impressed them because 4 days later they told me I'd got the job. So I am now what I call a 'trolley dolly' on trains from Nottingham to London and back selling sweets and drinks etc to the passengers So I then had a new job and a new house and life were on the up and I no longer have those bad thoughts. There was a change at Hope Into Action as well as Richard left and James took his place. James and I have got on really well and we have a good rapport together as he has also been in the Army for a while.

Summer was on the way and the garden was getting completely overgrown. I enjoy gardening but I had no tools to tackle it. I spoke to Mick and two lawnmowers turned up!

I've recently returned from a holiday in Spain and am feeling totally refreshed and relaxed. I was walking on the beach around 7.00am each morning and thinking about my life. I am back and life is good and the dark thoughts are long gone. I would like to thank SSAFA, Hope Into Action (Laura, Richard, and James) and Mick and his friends from Beeston Methodist Church for helping me to get my life back on track. Without Hope Into Action, I don't know what would have happened. 

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