Jason stayed in one of our Bodmin houses after being pushed into homelessness by the effects of the pandemic. Here he tells us in his own words about his experiences, his stay at the house, and how the Vocational Development Programme were able to help him. 


On being pushed into homelessness

“I had my own property, garden maintenance business, three or four years ago, which I'd set up. It was hard but I was getting a few jobs, fitting kitchens, bathrooms, things like that.. Then, work wasn't coming in quite as regular, so I started to struggle a bit. But really the deal breaker, which put me on the streets, was COVID. You couldn't go round people’s houses to work. Therefore, I didn't have money coming in. So basically, I couldn't afford to pay my rent and I lost me flat. All I had was my van, then my van decided to play up and not start, so that went to a mechanic. He couldn't sort it out and it’s just sat for the last two and a half years, it's knackered. So that's how I basically ended up sofa surfing and yeah, that's how I ended up on the streets for two years, just me and my dog.

I did end up in a very bad place, a couple of times. I did think about committing suicide. The only reason I didn't do it was because of my dog. Who's gonna look after her? So, she helped me."

On how he came across St Petrocs

“I'd never been on benefits in me life. I didn't know how the system worked. So, it was actually, my sister that set it up for me, to go on universal credit. Then I heard about St Petrocs, went on the website and actually contacted them. I was asked for an interview by Gary who's now with the VDP. He eventually became my house manager back then. And he was like, yep, I'll have 'e, he's a good bloke. And that's how I ended up coming to Bodmin.”

On the Vocational Development Programme

“Yeah, I was with St Petrocs, living in Bodmin for about six months and it's like, you know what, time to get your ass in gear Jace. I want my life back. You know, I didn't want to get up in the mornings and have nothing to do and it's like.. you know what Jace, let's try and get our life back on track. Then the VDP started, I was actually one of the first ones they approached. They came to me and said, look, what would you like to do? And I said, I would like to do welding. You know, I would like to get a qualification, set up my own business, and that's how it all started, me becoming a welder and having my own business now, was through the VDP.

They paid for me to go to college, I ended up doing two courses and got my certificates and that's how it started basically.”


On life beyond St Petrocs

“I eventually moved out of St Petrocs, I’d got talking to a guy across the road. He was thinking of letting rooms out and he asked me if I would move over. I said, yeah, cause it's my independence back. So I've got me dog. I got my own independence. I can come and go as I please.

So yeah, St Petrocs just gave me my independence back and allowed me to move on with my life. I've got the qualifications; I've registered as self-employed with the tax office. The Vocational Development Programme have been an absolute godsend, you know, I can't thank them enough. I think it's bloody amazing what St Petrocs and the VDP do for me and for all the rest of the residents, cause it’s extremely hard on the streets. We're not all druggies or criminals. I've never done drugs in my life. Like I said, I've worked all me life, I've been in the military. It is what it is. It's life. It was unfortunate. I'm just your normal average guy who was brought up by an average family with parents. But my life's getting back on track. I've got a new girlfriend. It's nice being able to go out, go places, go to the beach, you know, and feel like a human being again. Like my life has purpose.”