Damien, a single dad of four girls, has written a welcome to the Winter 2021 edition of Family Matters. He shares his touching story of overcoming adversity with thanks to Home-Start

"You might remember me from the last edition of Family Matters. I was the sofa surfing dad. Thankfully life has changed quite a bit since those days and I write today with a huge sense of gratitude to all the people who’ve helped us along the way.

A year ago I weighed 21 stone. I was lonely, depressed and basically disgusted with myself. I’d temporarily moved into a small two bed flat with my four children, but, while we had a roof over our heads, life was stressful and my mental health was bad.

Home-Start Medway entered my life when I most needed them. They helped with my housing, provided new school uniforms for my children and made sure we had everything we needed. But most of all, through my Home-Start volunteer Ron, I had someone who  listened, provided emotional support and helped me to build up my confidence.

Ron’s weekly calls during lockdown stopped me feeling isolated, from spiralling downwards. Ron never hurried me, never made me feel like I was talking too much.

Over the last year I’ve focused on improving my health and fitness. I’ve lost six stone and exercise every day. I also make sure the girls eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day.

We are still in temporary housing, but in a much bigger and more comfortable flat. My confidence has returned and also my self-respect. I’m going out a lot more and I’m building up my social connections.

I’m now at the stage when I don’t need Ron so much. While I’m glad at how far I’ve come I feel sad about saying goodbye to Ron. We will keep in touch, but I also know that he now needs to move onto someone else in trouble who needs him. That’s the best thing about Home-Start, whoever you are and whatever position you are in, they are there for you.

Home-Start has made all the difference to my family. We’re all in a good place and for that I’m very thankful. I’m also thankful to you for supporting this charity. Without your support there wouldn’t be people like Ron there to make the world a more manageable place.

I hope you see from reading this edition of Family Matters how important your support is, and what it means for families who need a little lift".

Damien, dad to four girls 

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