“This place has helped me loads over the years, a lot of my growing up has been through CTS. They’ve always been here, whenever I need someone to talk to, just to let out some steam. It’s just so helpful, everything they do, everything they offer.”
"My mum was addicted to heroin for as long as I can remember. We finally got taken into foster care and my mum was sent to rehab. She moved to Brighton for rehab. I was in the countryside, in the middle of nowhere, and they taught me how to read, they taught me how to write, they got me into school. I was happy in care, I didn’t want to leave. But my mum managed to get me and my brother back. Then she kicked me out again when I was eleven. I turned to friends at that point, they were a lot older than me and I stayed with them and their Mum’s. I was like their little brother.
I first heard about the Clock Tower when I was sixteen. So I went through five years before I even started coming here. I knew it was for homeless people but even I got anxious and thought ‘what if they’re violent, or they’re all on really bad drugs and alcohol’. Everyone judges, but we’re not all like that. Just because we’re homeless and we’ve got nowhere to live, it doesn’t mean we’re bad people. We’re human beings, we’re all equal. Before I came to CTS, I was living in a tent and lighting a fire to warm a tin of beans. Then I found out about this place and it was like, we’re allowed to cook here? What! This is crazy! To have somewhere like this is incredible. There’s so much freedom, like with the washing machine and you can just come in a cook what you want.
My biggest challenges problems with my bank account and accommodation. It’s difficult not having a permanent address, ID or utility bills. It’s annoying because you say to the bank, I need to change my circumstances, and you do it online so I rely on CTS for the Wi-Fi. The other problem is that I haven’t had a secure place to live since I was eleven. They seem to be making all these flats with extortionate amounts of rent and I think, who are you renting these properties to? Because it’s not people who live here, because we can’t afford that - to live in Brighton is really not affordable. But there’s people out there who would like somewhere to live, somewhere they can call their home.
My anxiety and depression all started when I lost my two boys....to the care system, and I can’t see them till they’re eighteen. I grew up not knowing my dad and always saying to myself that if I ever had children, I’d always make sure they’d know who I am. Always make sure, because throughout my childhood I’ve always blamed my dad for not being there. And now maybe my kids are going to grow up thinking that exact same stuff.
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for the Clock Tower Sanctuary - this place has helped me loads over the years, a lot of my growing up has been through this place. They’ve always been here, whenever I need someone to talk to, just to let out some steam. It’s just so helpful, everything they do, everything they offer. Just the support. I’d say the support is by far the most important thing here. Just to talk to someone, if you are having a bad day you can go to one of the staff or volunteers and they’ll say ‘oh yeah, give me five minutes and then we’ll go and have a chat’… the amount of times I’ve had a conversation with a volunteer and they’ve said you should do this or that, and sometimes you just need that person to talk to."
Kevin has aged out of our service now but we worked with 186 young people last year - each one had their own story and reasons for needing our help.