Malcolm did not have an easy start in life. His mother was an alcoholic and although at the age of 11, he left home and moved in with his father, things did not get any easier. He felt that he had simply traded one kind of abuse for another. The anger he felt towards his parents led him to fall in with a bad crowd and he first used drugs when he was only 11 years old.
By the age of 19, he was sleeping rough on the streets, an experience he describes as ‘horrible'. As he explains, "I was beaten, yelled at, even urinated on. You just become numb to everything." In his 30s, Malcolm's life took a more positive turn - he was happy to be in a relationship and to become a father. Sadly, the relationship didn't last and he found himself on the streets once again, struggling with addiction and feelings of anger and despair.
He moved in and out of different hostels, but until he walked through St Mungo's doors, no support was available to help him get his life back on track. So he tried to blot everything out and to push everyone away. As he said, "It feels as though no one cares about you so why should you care about yourself?"
However, upon arriving at St Mungo's, Malcolm found that our staff weren't going to give up on him so easily. As he sees it, "The staff are willing to go that step or two further than anyone has before. They have always got time for you and they go out of their way to help you." With the right encouragement, Malcolm has taken a number of steps to start changing his life around - he believes it is the support and understanding he has received that has made all the difference.
When Malcolm arrived at St Mungo's, we initially focussed on helping him to tackle his drug and other health issues, including helping him to access medication to keep his epilepsy under control. He had found this condition extremely difficult to deal with while living on the streets. He has also taken up several new activities and, in particular, creative writing and painting have helped him to find an outlet for his feelings.
He is now looking to the future and wants to turn his experiences into something positive by one day helping other homeless people to get their lives back on track. His ambition is to try to get a place on our Apprenticeship scheme which will give him the skills he would need to do this.
Malcolm's view is that if it wasn't for St Mungo's, he might even be dead by now. He has realised that with the right support, he can look forward to achieving a brighter future: "It's a good charity, it helps you to get out of your rut and start looking at the positive things in your life."
For Malcolm, the most important thing now is to reconnect with his children. He is keen to build up his skills and move on into his own accommodation, so that he can be a good role model for them. He has come a long way on his journey to recovery and believes that, with hard work and our ongoing support, he will continue to make positive changes in his life.