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Ian's Story

No more sofa surfing

“No matter how big or small, to have your own place, with your own key, is wonderful!”  Ian Stewart Denny. 

I have always been positive, and I consider myself to be a lucky man. I had a fulfilling, successful career working in the creative services industry since 1968, I travelled the world, lived abroad with my family and made a fair amount of money.  I was happily married and had three wonderful children and life was good for many years.

However, life certainly has a way of throwing you curve balls and unfortunately, things changed for me in later life.  I made some ill-advised business decisions and investments that did not work out.  From no money troubles, and a vigorous social life, things changed, and you must adapt.  My wife and I grew apart and our 37-year marriage ended, although we remain good friends life for me, changed dramatically.


I started renting a room in a friend’s house, but sadly they became terminally ill, and I had to move out.  I then started staying with friends and family whom I am eternally grateful to, but one doesn’t wish to intrude on anyone’s space and eventually you become like a ghost trying to blend into the background and to not impose on the kindness of your hosts.  It was a difficult time, and understandably relations can become strained for everyone.  Strangely, I never thought of myself as a “sofa surfer” I suppose one doesn’t associate this way of living for someone who is retired, but the reality is it can happen to anyone at any stage in their life. 


One spring morning I was clearing the front garden of where I was staying, and I struck up conversation with a passer-by.  I guess you could call it serendipity as we ended up talking about my homelessness and un beknown to me this stranger was a guest at Windsor Homeless Project.   I had recently applied for housing to the council, completed many forms, but hadn’t received any follow up or communication from the authorities.  I felt stuck and unable to navigate what I felt was a complicated system.  He suggested that I visit the Windsor Homeless Project for advice, well things changed from that point on. 


I first met Carron at St Stephens church and she changed my life, I know that’s a bold statement, but she really did.  I shared my story with her and showed her the mishmash of forms I had completed and told her I had heard nothing in three months since applying.  She told me to leave it with her and then after 3 days she called me back in and asked me to complete a few more forms and within 2 weeks I had received an offer on a one-bedroom flat.  She was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.


Thanks to Windsor Homeless Project I now have a place I can call home with a nice kitchen as I love to cook. I am creating a small inside garden, but most importantly I have my drawing board, paints and charcoals everything where it should be, It’s really, lovely.  Nick helped me move in and gave me some essential pieces of furniture: a bed frame, floor lamp and a chair.  They have been incredibly kind, and I really can’t thank them enough for their support and understanding. No matter how big or small, to have your own place, with your own key, is wonderful!

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