Sent to Cornwall with nothing during the pandemic

We met Helen outside some offices in Truro where she had been sleeping rough for a few nights. She had no sleeping bag and no phone. One of the few possessions she had was a slip of paper with St Petrocs’ details written on it, which was given to her at Heathrow Airport, however she had had no way of finding our centre.

Helen was an English Teacher in another country for 12 years where she had a home, a job, pets, friends, and a well-established life out there. As a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis her visa was cancelled and she was returned to the UK, leaving everything behind.

She slept rough for a few nights at the airport before the Heathrow Travel Care charity put her on a train to Cornwall as that is where she was born and was her last known address in the country. Upon arriving in Cornwall, the Local Authority determined that she had no local connection. Helen replied that her Cornish family had all passed away and she had no other friends in Cornwall. It was quickly established by St Petrocs that she had no recourse to public funds.

St Petrocs lobbied the Local Authority and she was temporarily housed in a caravan park. We delivered food parcels to her daily during the lockdown. We have supplied her with a telephone, and we are continuing to support and are working with the benefit agencies.