Tyne Stories, Chapter 4: George’s Story
George is one of our long-stay residents at Tyne. Starting his journey with us at our emergency accommodation provision, Byker Bridge House, he’s now an integral part of our Resident Consultation Group, and more recently has moved into his own new flat thanks to our recently launched move-on programme.
Funded by Homes England. The aim of the move-on programme is to help those who are currently living in emergency or supported accommodation move forward to independent living, volunteering and working.
“I was born in South Shields and have two big sisters. I have a close family and growing up was good when I was a little kid. I’ve always spent loads of time on my bike going off and exploring different places. I used to go to the beach near my house a lot on my bike, something I still do now.
When I went to school I was always in trouble, I was friends with the wrong crowds and got into fights, I started drinking and taking drugs, so I would get grounded all the time and then when I was 15 I got kicked out of school properly and was just left with nothing to do.
That’s when things probably got worse at home and my mam and dad ended up kicking me out of the house when I was 17. I went to live in Birmingham for a bit, helping out in a pub and then when that didn’t work out I came back to Newcastle but ended up homeless.
When I was homeless I was sleeping in Leazes park in the centre of Newcastle. I was drinking a lot and I just slept out on the benches, I didn’t have money or a tent or anything. After a while I got into Byker Bridge House where I was for five months, this is where I started volunteering with Crisis at Christmas, and I have done it every year since, giving up my Christmas to help vulnerable people who don’t have anything at all.
Since getting into Byker Bridge House I’ve lived in lots of different types of Tyne Housing properties, sometimes I would take the next step to move into a flat on my own, but then I would find it hard and need to move to a shared house where there’s more day to day support, that why I think Tyne Housing are really good because they never gave up on me and they’ve always helped me to find the right place to live and given me the right support for how I’ve been doing at the time.
Now, I spend all of my time out on my bike, volunteering, working and visiting my sister and my nieces and nephews. I’ve stopped messing about with drink and drugs as much and I ride my bike from South Shields to Byker to volunteer at Orange Box, a charity that sorts out cheap furniture for people.
In March I moved into my own move on flat with Tyne Housing. I knew I was ready because I’ve never felt better and more sorted, so it is the right step for me to move out of my shared house for good and get my own space. It’s in South Shields too, so it’s right near where I grew up, making it easy to see my friends and family and get out and about on my bike. I’m also part of Tyne Housing’s Resident Consultation Group so I can help decide what happens at Tyne and share my experience of living with them for so long.
Looking to the future I would like to get a full-time job, maybe something to do with furniture removals or painting and decorating because I’ve always been good at that stuff and I really like being kept busy. Tyne Housing has stuck by me for ages now and it really is brilliant. Thank you to all the staff and workers who have helped me get to this point.”
Tyne supports hundreds of people every year, providing access to housing, healthcare, training and more. Many of the people we work with have experienced homelessness and other complex challenges that are often misunderstood.
For George, having access to a range of different housing options throughout his life has meant he’s been able to stay connected to the support services he needs and develop a better understanding of himself, his own challenges and how he can work to overcome them. We’re proud to have been part of George’s journey. To us at Tyne, his story truly demonstrates the importance of investing in supported housing so that people like George can access the services and support they need when they need it.