I thought I’d give you another snapshot in to one of our client’s life that will help you see the great diversity we are dealing with day to day and also the amazing characters we have.

We had a client who had been street drinking for a good proportion of his life. He was truly entrenched into this way of life. From time to time he had a tenancy but it was always tenuously held and often he never made it back to the accommodation, as he was so intoxicated. He was a lovely man, who before I guild the lily completely, could be very challenging in his behaviour. We had lots of times when he completely exhausted the staff and frustrated them.

We found very quickly that if he knew there was mince for lunch it could defuse many a difficult situation!! It was a big carrot that we have dangled many times….unashamedly too although the carrot was usually in the mince!!

He supported a well-known football club but the love of his life was our Queen. He was not that interested in the rest of the royal family but he would not hear a word said against Her Majesty!

Whenever we found any pictures or news items about her he loved to look and read all that was said. We photocopied a picture of her and put it in a frame for him and he proudly put it on his wall.

When the Queen was 80 years old Wendy suggested to him that he might like to send her a letter of congratulations and tell her how much he appreciated her and all she did for our country. He was very excited at doing this and so Wendy and he composed a letter and duly sent it off. I don’t think it crossed his mind that he may get a reply. We thought that the Queen would be overwhelmed with people sending her cards and letters of congratulations and therefore a reply was probably out of the question.

One day, later in the summer a letter arrived for him with the Royal crest on it and we were so excited and could not wait for him to come into the centre. Eventually he came in and we loaned him a pair of our glasses for him to read it. He was overjoyed and could not believe that he had a letter from Buckingham palace addressed to him. We took some lovely photographs and he asked us to keep the letter safe for him, as he would treasure it forever.

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There was this man that I guess most people would walk past and not give another thought too, or if they did I suspect their thoughts would not be that favourable, with a deep love for his Queen. Whatever our feelings are about the monarchy this love had sustained him and helped him to have some joy and pride in his country. Yes there was a lot that you could point out in his life that wasn’t good but this love and devotion was and it also made him even more of a character. And this good focus lifted him for a while above the drudgery and cares of his life on the streets. We will tell you the story, at another time, of how he came to come off the streets and is in lovely safe accommodation now. Watch this space!