From Scout... to homeless... to Porchlight worker
1 October 2018
Geoff is supporting the Kent Scouts Big Cardboard Sleep Out for Porchlight - the county's biggest ever sponsored sleep out for homelessness.
As a young boy in the Scouts, Geoff never dreamed he’d end up homeless as an adult.
But unexpected redundancy from his security job led to Geoff sleeping on the streets. Things got so bad that he was forced to forage for food – a skill he learned with the Scouts years before.
“I slept in a car, on the beach and even in public toilets,” he recalls. “I was cold, alone and hungry – if I hadn’t foraged I wouldn’t have been able to eat. It was a horrible time.”
Porchlight gave Geoff a room in one of its hostels. “Being there allowed me to get back on my feet and take charge of my life,” he says.
While Geoff was being supported by Porchlight, he realised that helping people who are homeless was something he wanted to do.
We were able to help him find a job and somewhere of his own to live. But the desire to help others never left him, and soon Geoff was back with Porchlight – this time as a member of staff.
He is currently one of our Porchlight helpline operators. “I’ve gone from calling up in need of help to being on the other end of the line supporting people. Homelessness doesn’t discriminate and I’m able to help people from all different backgrounds.”
The money raised by Kent Scouts Big Cardboard Sleep Out can be used to help fund Porchlight’s helpline and other lifesaving services.
“I want to say a massive thank you to the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers,” he says. “I’ve seen first-hand just what a difference they’ll make.”