As a previous St Mungo’s client, Gerry knows first-hand how important St Mungo’s services are in supporting someone’s immediate wellbeing, as well as their long-term future and recovery from homelessness. Gerry left home at 17 after suffering abuse.
I bought a train ticket to London and just took off by myself. I only had a few coins in my pocket but I knew if I stayed near my abuser, one of us would wind up dead.
I was homeless in the 1980s, mainly around London’s West End. I slept at train stations, on benches, on the streets – anywhere I could. I was drugged, attacked and raped repeatedly. It was one of the worst times of my life and I really thought I was going to die. I ended up turning to drink and drugs because I just wanted to escape – escape the abuse, escape my own head, escape my own life. After decades of struggling alone, I finally contacted St Mungo’s Hackney Recovery Services in October 2017.
I struggled alone for years, and was close to giving up, but after reaching out to St Mungo’s Hackney Recovery Services, I managed to rebuild my life.
They introduced me to different activities, such as mindfulness, sport, and talking group therapy. For the first time in my life, I was able to talk about the abuse I suffered as a child. I’d never spoken about my emotions before; the fear, the anger, the pain, the rage, the frustration. I got it all out. I had 14 months of healing and I can honestly say that it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
I now work at St Mungo’s supporting those who have been through a similar experience to me. I initially started out as a Project Volunteer, but soon became a Peer Digital Champion at the Recovery College and am now a Duty Worker. I feel really proud of what I’ve achieved and count myself as one of the lucky ones to come out the other side. It wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated support the teams at St Mungo’s gave me – they truly saved my life
Gerry is currently training for the Hackney Half Marathon to raise vital funds for St Mungo’s. Please donate via his Just Giving page.