Johnson’s Story

Johnson is a customer at Look Ahead’s Heaney Hub Homelessness and Complex Needs Service in the Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington.

I was referred to the Look Ahead service last year after I started struggling with my mental health during a family breakdown. I had a good job, a family and then everything seemed to disappear and it became too much for me. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before and I didn’t exactly know what to expect.

One thing I can say is, I didn’t think I would get support as good as I’ve had it here. My support workers gave me such a warm welcome, I felt like I was at home after just a short while. The staff have been marvellous, they’re very helpful and supportive.

To make sure I’m okay my support workers carry out daily welfare checks and check that I’ve had my medication. They also directed me to food banks and other support, so I’ve been able to get hold of household items and even access gym membership.

The support workers help me to make decisions with a clear head and manage my appointments. I’ve be trying to get back into work again and they’ve been helping me to sign up to training programmes like confidence building. I enjoy challenges and I’d love to get a job in renewable energy. I’ve been doing a local college course and some online learning and am gradually making my way up. With this support, I’m hoping I will get into the sector at a high level within a few years. It’s important that I don’t stress myself out too much and I take time out to see my children a couple of weeks, which I really love.

My other goal is also to move into an a flat of my own with floating support, and I’m looking forward to that and I feel hopeful that I’ll be able to do it.

At Look Ahead one of the best things I’ve seen is a willingness to celebrate diversity. As a black man, I’ve not always felt comfortable in every space I’ve been in. But at Look Ahead, everyone is welcome, I’ve been impressed to meet people who speak my language, and I’ve attended events where delicious African-Caribbean food has been served by staff. It’s little things like this that really make a person feel welcome.