Hello, I'm Maria. I was 24 when I first visited The Clock Tower Sanctuary. It offered me a safe and friendly place when I most needed it. Eight years later, my life is very different and I have come back to The Clock Tower Sanctuary to volunteer. The day centre is bigger now and offers more services. But some things haven't changed.
The young people here don't choose to be homeless. Just like I didn't. They're homeless because they are coping with relationship breakdown: with low wages and insecure jobs and housing. Many have suffered significant trauma in childhood. They are suffering from poor mental health. They are sleeping rough or living in tents and having to put themselves in danger.
This is where we step in, offering a safe place, practical support and a sense of stability. The Clock Tower Sanctuary has hot showers and freshly-made food; computers and laundry facilities. We run confidence-building activities like yoga, music and fitness, life skills classes and access to health services. When you're on the streets you really miss a human connection and you're sometimes subject to abuse and violence.
The Clock Tower Sanctuary is a really vital source of kindness and comfort too. Cara, who is 23 describes how we helped her:
I was a care leaver when I first came here. It was like a family vibe and I could talk about anything. The Clock Tower Sanctuary helped me get my housing and benefits sorted. The staff helped me understand my mental health too. I've seen how The Clock Tower Sanctuary improves lives... I've seen people go from having nothing to being housed and safe.
The Clock Tower Sanctuary has been here helping homeless 16-to-25 year olds for 21 years now. During that time, we have helped hundreds of young people who had nowhere else to turn. I have a good job now and a safe place to live, so volunteering here is my way of saying thank you to The Clock Tower Sanctuary. This year, we have seen double the amount of young people coming to the day centre and so many are coping with complex issues.
Can you help us raise £30,000 so we can support more vulnerable young people?
Your donation can make an immediate impact and help stop a young person becoming stuck in a spiral of long-term homelessness.
£10 could pay for a hot shower and nutritious meal
£25 could pay for pair of shoes or an outfit for a job interview
£100 could pay for two warm sleeping bags
£500 could pay for a volunteer to be trained up to work in the day centre
And your support could make a life-changing difference to a young homeless person who really needs our help. Just like I did.
Who knows where I'd be now if I hadn't been supported by The Clock Tower Sanctuary when I was younger.
So, on behalf of my 24-year old self, thank you.
Clock Tower Sanctuary volunteer