View from Hunter

Hunter - Resident turned worker turned song writer gives a picture.

I was introduced to the Sanctuary by a former resident in August 2000. I had an interview with Dave Lackner-Smith who worked alongside Sheila Halsall. I became homeless after a violent incident that happened to me whilst living on Falinge with a friend. I was quickly accommodated at the Sanctuary Trust, removing me from the immediate danger.

My life had been in turmoil to this point and had become so over the previous 10-12 years after being introduced to drugs and consequently becoming addicted. At the Sanctuary there was help on offer that I had never experienced before. The staff were people who accepted, understood and loved me for who I was warts an' all.

I was not living up to my agreement in the hostel still using street drugs. Even through this problem my key worker found me a place to live independently at Greave House. This was fantastic accommodation for me under the circumstances. However my life was still being directed by use of illicit substances; living to feed my habit. My key worker from Sanctuary kept in contact with me and I knew I could call round to the Hostel on Tweedale Street at any time and quite often did. I eventually lost my accommodation at Greave house due to the staff finding drug paraphernalia in my flat.

I turned back to my friends at the Sanctuary who gave me an option to take accommodation at the hostel with very strict guidelines. This included seeking detoxification and rehabilitation from drugs. I found a place to complete both of these goals and have now been drug free for three years. I have visited the Sanctuary on a regular basis since my departure from rehab. This has led me after long consideration to believe my future lies in helping people like myself. I started working initially in a voluntary capacity and then paid as a Sanctuary Trainee Project worker working towards NVQ level 3. I have since left the Sanctuary Trust to concentrate on my song writing and singing.

Hunter is a prolific song writer, guitarist and singer and has written many songs; some about his journey of recovery. He still supports the work of the Sanctuary Trust and often comes back to share his wisdom and sometimes in song.


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 STEP Emergency overnight provision. 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.