As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, my staffie rescue Paige (below) looks at me. We get up, we go down the Fish Quay. We have a little run and she tells the world her problems.
I did have beds now and again [when I was homeless], but it wasn’t security. I always thought about the life I’d have to face the next day; whether I’d wake up in a bin shed, or on the streets. It’s nice now, I can wake up in my own bed. It’s great to have my own key, and my own responsibilities, as well – you know, bills. It took a bit of time for me to get adjusted to that.
I’ve got two jobs. I live above the Quay Taphouse. Every morning I clean the bar for an hour, which pays my rent at the end of the month. I think if you can work an hour a day to put a roof over your head, it’s not a bad call.
Then I get ready for the day. I head up to North Shields, to YMCA North Tyneside. I support 28 residents, aged 16 to 25. I’ve been in those places so I get them, where other people don’t. For instance, yesterday I could see one of them was agitated. So, I made a roll-up, tapped him on the shoulder and said, let’s go for a walk. By the time we came back, he was laughing. A lot of people can’t do that because they haven’t got the understanding of what they may be going through.
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It’s great to give the support back. But sometimes I think, what the hell is this? I always was on the outside looking into society. Now I have a nine-to-five. Is this what they call the real world?