Stairway to success

Brian's Story

I was just 12 years old when I started using cannabis.  It wasn't long before I was addicted to heroin and committing shop lifting offense to fund my habit.  This was my life; drug addiction, crime and homelessness.   In 2015, I decided I wanted to change; I attempted abstinence but unfortunately relapsed.  Using heroin, crack cocaine and diazepam daily I made the decision to seek the help of Sanctuary Trust Halsall House project. 

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At Halsall house Brian quickly engaged with drug services and progressed through the Stages System.  This was very much the easy part for Brian, he had already made the decision he didn't want to use anymore; he welcomed the structure of an abstinence project and wanted to engage with the package of support.  What Brian found difficult was managing a growing feeling of guilt and remorse.  He couldn't understand why, after a short period of abstinence, he fell back into old habits. He felt he let down his friends, family, and himself.

Sanctuary Trust engaged with Brian through our Success Project.  Brian started to understand how he had created pathways in his brain that subconsciously impact on his decision making.  Brian recognised his power to change these pathways; with repeated and directed attention toward the designed change he managed to retrain his brain at Halsall House.

 "It can be very difficult to change a habit of a life time.  Truly, there is no elevator to Success; you really do have to take the stairs!  I am happy to report that I remain abstinent and have since moved on to my own tenancy" 


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John Priestly


Sanctuary Trust works with homelessness and homeless related poverty and emergency homeless issues. God's Sanctuary was the vision of Sheila Halsall after seeing the level of homelessness Rochdale and later the homelessness Conwy and the substance misuse such as Drugs and Alcohol. By Providing emergency shelter for the homeless in supported housing services funded mainly through Supporting People we assist other providers such as Shelter homelessness, Petrus and Stepping Stones who are also supporting people through women's and men's hostels and floating support. We also have a Nightstop (crash pad). With our work in Wales we partner with Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) as they provide financial help for homeless through emergency shelter and their Supporting People funds. There are different kinds of accommodation available but what is needed is good quality supported accommodation with a strong business and development plan. We have also provided consultancy service to help others move closer to an answer to homelessness. Our social enterprise company, Sanctuary Trust Enterprises runs Noah's Ark Play Centre, The Storehouse Charity Shop.