Sunday was my last night working at the shelter for the season (it runs from December-April) and being honest it was an emotional one. Every Sunday or Monday night since December I’ve spent an evening having dinner and chatting with these guys and it’s going to be strange not having that as part of my routine anymore.
However this is not the end of the project and hopefully not goodbye!
As part of the finale of the project we had a ‘meeting’ where the guys got to share some of their thoughts and to show us some photos and messages from a field trip to the Peak District that they took a few weeks ago.
One of the guys stated how much he enjoyed the trip but towards the end realised that although he was going back to Cambridge he had no where to call home. I can’t imagine that feeling, of not knowing where you’re going to sleep tonight, or anywhere to keep your belongings or somewhere to feel secure. A lot of the time they feel hopeless and stuck, struggling to get back to normal life, then once they have a place to live it’s an adjustment to getting back to ‘normal’ life; there is a community within the homeless once they go to their own place they leave that community but feel that they don’t fit in with ‘normal’ people.
I’ve been thinking about what to do once CCHP finishes, I’ve enjoyed being with these guys and don’t want to disappear back to my own little world. I’ve been asked to join the ‘Core Team’, not entirely sure what that involves apart from a meeting over coffee to discuss this further and find out how I can be involved. One of the other Team Leaders and I are planning on meeting some of the guys one evening a week as well, just to keep in contact with them so this another step outside of my comfort zone, going into social situations where I learnt to adjust but still be myself.
The guys have said to me how much they appreciate what the project has done for them, I don’t think they realise what they did for me. I started the project feeling nervous, wondering if it would be awkward, what I put my foot in it (I do that A LOT) what would we talk about etc, and ended up loving being involved. They made me feel welcome, and in a way we became a little family unit having dinner together, learning about how others live and having a laugh. It did remind me a lot of family evenings in having a roast dinner and a chat. So thank you to all the guys who came along, I’m glad I got to meet you all.