Ever decreasing circles. 

Tonight we stood and talked to one of our friends for the best part of an hour.

He talked of his recent time spent in prison, where he got clean. But on his release he is handed an order for rehab, but has nothing. Nowhere to stay, no money to attend the rehab which will undoubtably mean back to prison. And the only place to turn is back to the streets. And so the cycle continues. Begging, stealing, drugs and alcohol. A life on the streets, labelled by him as the only life he really knows. 

Desperate for a warm and safe environment he dreams of being able to break the cycle. But he doesn’t get the break. And so that circle keeps turning. An ever decreasing circle where as we stand and talk, we are all thinking that there will come a time where the circle becomes so small, it will cease to exist, as too will he. 

He told us of his life. It seemed from an early age his life choices could only be described as those that would send any parent to despair. He didn’t hide the fact, his story was an open book. But boy was it a colourful story. He had us laughing more than we had laughed in a long time. The places he had seen, the things he had done, the ‘big’ ideas he had that would change everything for him. But they didn’t. His ever decreasing dreams had gotten so small, the dreams had ceased to exist. 

Imagine developing pneumonia due to sleeping under the cold harsh skies, only to be actually thankful that you did because that means 3 weeks in hospital. 3 weeks of guaranteed meals, a bed, faces to talk to, safety. And after those 3 weeks you’re told to find somewhere to stay that night, with the promise that the very next day you’ll be contacted with somewhere to stay. But the contact never comes, and so the circle keeps turning, for now anyway. 

And so your thoughts turn to that prison cell. It becomes his closest thing to a safe and warm environment, the closest thing to a home. And so the cycle continues. In, out, round and round, it keeps turning. And every turn it decreases, ever so slightly. Until it becomes so small it ceases to exist, as too will he. 

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800 to the power of three. 

 We walked up to get our weekly coffee in high spirits tonight. We met lots of new faces and felt as though we had made some impact. 

What a difference five minutes can make. And with this comes a different kind of blog this week. It’s not a piece that reflects on the weather, nor does it skim over the people we’ve met, telling snippets of stories. 

Tonight we dedicate this blog to our pregnant couple. Tonight we dedicate it to Jodie and Dean. 

We thought, in the nicest possible way, we’d seen the back of them. But any sense of hope we had talked about in previous blogs disappeared tonight. 

Sat having a drink and reflecting on the night, we heard a familiar voice. Cue Dean. Stood at the end of our table wearing that usual cheeky grin. We invited them to join us. And so, with the heaviest heart of all, the story begins. 

Jodie and Dean found housing, of sorts. But it fell through. So they were back to square one. A lamppost for a bed side light, stars for a roof and eachother arms for warmth. They’d managed since to get a few nights here and there in accommodation. But every day hung on how much money they could find. Whether or not a pregnant girl slept on the streets or in a bed rested purely on the kindness of strangers. 

They spoke of their childhoods, their past, their dreams and aspirations. Dean is full of life, he has a will to get on and provide for his partner, and the life growing inside her. He’s skilled, he worked as a plasterer until the accident. He fell from scaffolding, with an employer who had no insurance, he lost his job, and lost everything.

They’ve both fallen on hard times in their lives, and genuinely not because of their choices, but the choices of those around them, those who’s job it was to care and provide for them, and at the very least keep them from harm. They then had to bury their tiny son, what parent should ever have to do that? And now, as their unborn child grows and gets ready to make its debut, Dean has just one wish, “I just want the chance to be a good dad”. Silence fell. My lip began to tremble, eyes filling up. I looked around the table, I wasn’t the only one. 

Finally someone spoke, asking what they needed to get a place of their own, without having to sit on an eternal waiting list. Turns out, the council will pay the bond and the rent, but they would have to pay the first months rent and the credit checks. All in all, around £800 tops. Which they obviously don’t have. 

It seems impossible, yet so simple. £800 will give them the start, the first step in writing a very different story. Think of the possibilities that would provide. With Jodie and their unborn child safe, Dean could start looking for work, they could start build a life and live their forever. I sat wishing I had the money. We all sat wishing we had the money. 

£800 stands between ‘accommodation’ or a home. £800 stands between an existence or a future. £800 stands between a family yearning to succeed, or a family potentially set to be destroyed and torn apart. They’ve already lost one child. £800 says they could lose another. Imagine as a parent having to face even the thought of that. It’s a painful and unthinkable notion.

Tonight will be one of those nights we never forget. It will be one of those nights that will never be far from our thoughts. Tonight will be one of those nights that will make us meet up during the week to try to find a way to help them, to give them the break they so desperately need. 

So tonight we dedicate our blog to Jodie and Dean. Our promise to you is that we will do everything we can to give you the opportunity to be the mummy and daddy you long to be, that you deserve to be.