At the age of 63, Phil was released from prison. Unable to find his feet in a home town he no longer recognised, he became homeless.
When Phil came to St Mungo’s hostel Hope Gardens last year, he told his key worker his greatest wish: “One day, I hope to have my own front door”.
“When I was younger I was always getting in trouble. I fell in with the wrong crowd and got involved in robberies and drug deals. I skipped school a lot too. Now, when I look back, it makes me so sad to think about all the time that I wasted.
Prison was not an easy place to be. Often you can’t even see the daylight outside – we were so completely cut off from the world.
In prison I learnt that, if you were suffering, it was best not to say anything. You had to keep quiet and act tough. So when I came out I had so much bottled up inside of me – I didn’t even realise that I was in pain.
When I was finally released, I was 63 years old. I couldn’t believe how much everything had changed while I was inside. It was like stepping out into a whole new world – everything had become digital.
When I went to prison I didn’t even know how to use a computer, let alone smartphones or apps. I felt completely out of my depth.
I spent two years in temporary accommodation with very little support. They expected you to just get on with it but I needed help.
Then, in October 2019, I arrived at Hope Gardens. The support I received there from Aimone, my Support Worker, was incredible. At our first meeting I told her that I wanted to have my own front door one day. She said that together, we would make that happen.