Despite the lockdown, there is still hope as Cynthia finally finds a home. Cynthia*, a 63-year-old client, came to Spring of Hope having been sofa-surfing with family and friends for over a decade. She had no income, no home, no ID, and no belongings, other than clothes.
She had an open application with the Home Office under the Windrush Scheme. In the past 8 years, she suffered two strokes but due to her immigration status and the cost implications of further treatment and care, Cynthia had only been able to access emergency treatment. Her relationships with her immediate family had broken down under the stress and strain of her situation, and this had a negative effect on Cynthia’s physical and mental health.
“I was in a really difficult situation after my dad passed away. I was homeless and had to move from place to place. I took ill and since then I’ve been moving from one daughter to another. It never worked and I was very low.
I went to a friend and she helped me. I stayed with her daughter on the living room sofa for a little while. My friend took me to Spring of Hope, and I give God thanks for that. It was a blessing when I went there. I spoke to Val on the phone, who handed me over to a brilliant lady called Alice (Spring of Hope Deputy Manager at the time), she was so amazing; beautiful inside out. I just clicked with her and she clicked with me, maybe because we have the same birthday! Then things started to change in my life and started to come together.
Alice and I would go to a lot of meetings together to sort out GP registration, National Insurance application, and other interviews. Whenever we went to any interview we never came out of the car unless we prayed. Every meeting, God opened the door. Like when we were struggling to get my NI number, we were going round in circles. There was a man at the office who saw my form, held up my birth certificate and said, “I know this place. My parents are from there!” He asked if we had a piece of information, which we didn’t, but he said he would sort it out and he did! He shared with us that he wasn’t supposed to be in work that day but had just come in ‘by chance’ and had been asked for his advice on Cynthia’s application!
Spring of Hope helped me to get Universal Credit, get registered with a GP, and helped me into temporary accommodation at ‘Help Bristol’s Homeless,’ where containers have been converted into single living spaces. I just want to give thanks for Jasper, who runs Help Bristol’s Homeless. He helped me through my struggles at his place. And from there I moved into my beautiful home.
I give God the thanks for a home that I didn’t have before. Alice helped me to get all my furniture and everything that I needed in the flat. She also arranged for it all to be delivered to my home safely, especially because it was during lockdown. It was a real blessing to me. I give God thanks for Alice and all the other charities who have helped me.
I’m part of the ‘My Time’ group at Spring of Hope, which I enjoy a lot. I do a bit of knitting, we study the bible, and share food together. We have ladies who visit and do our nails and hair. It makes us happy that someone is there for us if we need a bit of pampering. I give God thanks for them. The staff and volunteers (Val, Alice, Trudy and Sharon) are so lovely; we can talk to them about anything and they help us all on our journeys. The Spring of Hope weekend away was so amazing. We went away to a residential house near Bridgwater. I’ve never been to somewhere like that before and it was great to have the opportunity to be with the ladies in that way and share extended time together.
The support of Spring of Hope means a lot to me. It helped me through my journey, full of struggles. If any woman is out there that needs help, just go to Spring of Hope and you will find love inside there.”