Relapses are part of recovery by Charlie.

Charlie talks about the need for patience and understanding when working with addicts. The need to understand that relapses are part of the recovery journey is key to allowing people to make their recovery stick. There are going to be lapses and you’ve got to take that into account, where they’re going to get knocked…

Fellowship meetings f2f v remote by Miles

Miles mulls over the introduction of remote fellowship meetings and considers the impact of meetings that will allow people to attend both in person as well as online. Mat Amp [Groundswell’s point of contact for community reporters] Whilst everyone is excited for a pint with friends. I too am excited about seeing friends in person…

Storage Blues by Paul Atherton FRSA

    The mental health pressures during covid lockdown in my Marylebone apartment that I’ve been placed under ‘Everyone In’ since April 3rd 2020, (we’re literally about five, six days away from it being a year) has been immense. The constant threats of eviction, they’ve been eight now. First in July, then in August and…

Get Serious by Paul Atherton FRSA

    If, like me, you’re wondering why it took a global pandemic for some people in government and local authorities to go, ‘Hey, you know what would be a good idea? ‘ ‘What?’ ‘You know these people experiencing homelessness?’ ‘Uhuh’ ‘How about if we get them into a warm room, make them comfortable, sheltered,…

The Cyrus Virus by Miles

How do I feel at the present time? Anxious and nervous with no sense of rhyme. What is there to worry Just go get a curry I put on my shoes and I walk past the loo I think what to get with my vindaloo As I pace the floor I reach for the door. My neighbour waves as…

‘Let’s be proud and look after each other’ by Laura Ashcroft.  

With new strains of this virus showing up, we, as a nation and world, are seeing the true insights of growth, care towards others, and passions that are being realised. But on the other side of things people are losing their livelihoods, their businesses and worst of all their loved ones.  One thing is for sure, there are have been many examples during the pandemic…

Charlie talks isolation [part one]

I work with a lot of people with mental health problems and the biggest set back on their recovery is isolation and loneliness. Before lock down, the bulk of my time was spent finding coffee clubs, college courses, hobby clubs and book clubs but the main part of building a relationship was getting to know the person interests, then…

What are isolation and lonliness? asks Steve…

In this straight from the heart report, Steve talks about the issues surrounding isolation and comes to the realisation that isolation and loneliness are two very different things. “The isolation part, it’s a prison of the mind, isn’t it? Because, you know, like I said, you can be in a group of people and feel…

Charlie on the importance of Wifi

This piece from Charlie is an impassioned cry for universal access to broadband. Without it people are cut off from support and unable to take part. This is something that has become increasingly apparent as the pandemic has gone on.  I’m increasingly finding that when people are eventually housed, they become disadvantaged straight away. When…

The importance of cats in my life : Anon

I love cats. All cats. But especially my indoor kitty babies who are like children to me. They are like little people with special powers of cuddliness, fluffiness and the 6th sense of intuition. Very close after them are my other feline babies, those left behind in the colony where my indoor kitties were born. They…

My healthcare experience during and before Covid : Anon

My healthcare experience is a bit of a mixed bag. I do feel cared for, not abandoned. I do feel cared for when it comes to anything ‘uniformed’. They have me registered, they have not forgotten about me, they treat me well most of the time. But when it comes to anything out of the ordinary, anything…

Charlie talks about the bridge provided by peer mentoring…

In this audio report Charlie talks about the way that working as a peer provides a bridge to recovery.  Peers can get used to working in a gentle and understanding environment rather than being forced back in to formal employment too early where they encounter triggers for mental health and addiction issues that may lead…

Miles on the hope that this spring brings…

  What have I missed most during covid19? – connecting with people in person. In my recovery journey I’ve been able to find support/a hug/a shoulder/someone talking the same thoughts I’m feeling. Then Covid hit – no more face to face fellowship meetings and the scary world of zoom!!! (for a dinosaur like me it’s…

Paul Atherton FRSA – ‘Getting to see the doc…or not’

    AUDIO TRANSCRIPT:  I’ve been asked if I’ve been able to make an appointment with my GP during lock down. I sort of have. I’ve talked about my mental health in another contribution but my physical health is a huge concern. I’ve got moles that itch, I’ve got an ulcer on my buttock, I’m not…

The Twisted Reward System by Steve

Steve talks about the difficulty with making change stick and the pull of addiction. His experience is the reason he has his job but it is also the thing that could trip him up. This is the struggle that all addicts face every second of every day ‘it’s exhausting’.

What, I wonder, happened to Everyone In? by Anne Enith Cooper.

One night between lockdowns, after a rare excursion out of the borough, I return to Brixton by tube. It’s nearly midnight. A ghost town. Don’t think I’ve ever seen the high street so empty except, perhaps, at four in the morning. There’s a chill in the air, after all it’s October. A fine drizzle clings to…

Do people trust the vaccine? My opinion by Anon

My sister, an EU citizen has always had her regular vaccinations and her children too. However, now even the children are adults in their 20’s she discourages them from having the Covid-19 vaccination just yet. She says: “We do not know yet if down the line they will give birth to children with a third arm…

The assessment cycle and triggers by Paul Atherton FRSA

By Paul Atherton FRSA This about being reminded why I don’t usually battle with state. I was laid up bedridden for an entire week after my Social Care Assessment last week. No daylight made me suicidal. I’m getting out for the first time properly today, Not a single person checked in on me in 143…

“I ended up removing both the teeth myself.” by Lee

By Lee I moved out of Birmingham, to another district in the Midlands two weeks before the first lockdown, came into effect due to Covid – 19.  A week into lockdown, I tried to register myself at a local GP practice. Having three practices within 15 minutes walking distance, I thought this would be achievable….

Where would my life be without Frasier? by Paul Atherton FRSA

By Paul Atherton FRSA   Where would my life be without Frasier? It’s really funny, it’s on in the background here in the apartment hotel that I’m staying in as part of the Covid lockdown’s Everyone In. And I’ve had a tough weekend, in fact I’ve had a tough Sunday. I’ve always hated Sundays as…

#EveryoneIn 2…? Paul Atherton FRSA responds to Robert Jenrick’s statement

After the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, Robert Jenrick, put out a statement about the #EveryoneIn scheme we asked Paul Atherton what he thought about it all. #EveryoneIn has helped 34,000 people into safe and secure accommodation so far in this pandemic. Today I’m asking local councils to redouble their efforts to…

‘Everybody in’. Just my opinion by Anon

I was shocked by this situation where people are left on the streets while at the same time told ‘Stay at home, save lives. The hypocrisy! ‘Everybody in’ initiative was a great opportunity and a great hope. However, I cynically fear, it only happened due to the general spirit of the 1st lockdown. There were some campaigns and acknowledgment of the problem by organisations…

It’s who you know…by Paul Atherton FRSA

How I prevented my eviction through the people I know rather than the Council doing its job. Why £20 per week changed the world & why the government should keep it tomorrow. And why do we believe Billionaires should get state handouts while Children starve to death. This is not the Britain I grew up…

‘Our 15 Minutes of Fame Was Just That’ by Paul Atherton FRSA

As many will recall from articles and interviews I did back in April 2020, I kept reiterating that if people wanted long term effective change they had about three weeks in which to do it. This was how long I believed the novelty of a lockdown, and the spirit of community that it had nurtured, would last….

“It’s lockdown 2…”

Paul reflects on how people who were homeless were portrayed by society as England went into the second Covid-19 lockdown 2 in November 2020. It’s lockdown 2 and as with every sequel this one is going to be totally rubbish. You see when you were homeless in the first lockdown, I and my fellow compatriots became…

“Wet paint, don’t touch”

Steve talks about his challenges of homelessness and addition during the first UK Covid-19 lockdown. I felt I was under a tremendous amount of pressure to stay clean. And I’m one of them personalities or character traits that ‘Wet paint, don’t touch’…  well sooner or later I’m going to touch it. I’m not sure on the psychology behind…

‘Tis the season to be jolly?

By Claire So, I’ve been thinking… Lockdown #2 and the impact?!? Including those who are currently experiencing homelessness. Initially, there seemed to be a lot of incredulity. It seemed so far-fetched, everyone on the toilet roll run, shops with empty shelves and so on. Although that turned out to be somewhat overboard, we soon realised…

Laura features in The Kind Place podcast

A couple of weeks ago Laura – one of the mobile reporters on this project – featured in a new podcast series called The Kind Place, where people experiencing loneliness get together to discuss what it actually means to be lonely, what it feels like, and what they’re doing to get through it. In this episode,…

Just fix the problem

By Paul Atherton FRSA Just fix the problem. That’s what I would say to people who are in power and genuinely want to end Homelessness. As I struggle, trying to “Move On” with ill-educated Council staff trying to prove I was made intentionally homeless 9 years after I first approached them with all the evidence to…

“The noise came back.”

My accommodation did not change. I live in temporary accommodation with my disabled boyfriend while still bidding on permanent place. There seem to be less suitable properties to bid on recently. Due to Covid we did not have an inspection every 8 weeks which was a relief as I always feel anxious about these inspections….

New podcast! Accounts from people experiencing homelessness during COVID-19

Over the last few months COVID-19 and the response to the pandemic has had a significant impact on people experiencing homelessness. The researchers and mobile reporters have made a podcast exploring peoples experiences so far. Groundswell have been working alongside people experiencing homelessness to ensure their views and experiences are represented and acted on. Our…

“I just keep thinking that why now?”

As someone with mental health issues – having them since the age of 17 when a family member passed away – I went into a deep depression. Not knowing what to do I turned to drink and crime. I was stealing to feed my usage. When it got to a point when I almost got…

“The loss of revenue means, do I eat or do I score”

By Charlie It is a change of an era. After walking through the streets, since the lockdown started. The main change is people don’t carry any change now. They don’t carry money. Homeless community have always relied on people carrying money. Call a life style or to live style. The cost of alcohol, has stayed…

‘It’s services coming together’ – Dave Woodley on the COVID-19 response for rough sleepers in London

Dave Woodley works on the ICN project; the Integrated Care Network is a three-way partnership between Groundswell and specialist GP surgeries Great Chapel Street Medical Centre and The Dr Hickey Surgery in Westminster. Their work involves working with rough sleepers to address their health needs and to provide respite, reducing hospital admissions.  Like most jobs within health and social care,…

John Gibbons on ‘constantly chasing the virus’

John Gibbons is a Groundswell Case Worker who is currently testing the homeless community for COVID-19. John works alongside the ‘Find and Treat’ team across London to test people in hostels or the hotels where people who rough sleep have been temporary accommodated. First published May 2020 in the Pavement magazine ‘Health & Wellbeing in a Crisis’…