Jeremy shares his skills and experiences

Jeremy is 24 years old and lives at Mare Street Hostel in Hackney, a St Mungo’s homelessness service. The hostel offers accommodation for 68 people and Jeremy is one of the youngest residents there.

The hostel will home people for a maximum of 2 years and looks after people with a wide range of needs, many of whom receive intensive support.

Jeremy  initially lived in a homeless hub in Camden when he had to leave his family home due to relationships breaking down. He then moved into Mare Street and has now lived in the hostel for about a year.

The Hackney Time Credits Project Manager ran a range of engagement activities in the hostel. Jeremy was initially quiet and  was reluctant to get involved in Time Credits. He then attended a ‘Woolly Hat Day’ event organised by hostel staff. After this he offered to move some furniture in the hostel for a film night. He then helped with some cooking for an event and helped make sausage rolls. Slowly his confidence started to increase and he enjoyed being around people and doing something productive. At the Time Credit launch event in the hostel other residents really engaged, warmed to him and listened to what he had to say.

Jeremy has earned Time Credits in a number of different ways. He supports staff to deliver IT sessions, has taken part in interviewing new staff  as a service user panel member, and more recently helped to judge a hostel radio show!

Jeremy spent Time Credits on a tour of Arsenal football club and gifted his Time Credits to others so that a wider hostel group could attend. Jeremy also loves to go to the cinema. Other residents give their Time Credits to Jeremy so he can go more often and he helps others to use the internet to learn where to spend their Time Credits too.

Since earning and spending Time Credits, Jeremy has gained more independence and enjoyed helping and supporting others, both staff and those living in the hostel. Time Credits enable him to spend and enjoy getting out of the hostel. Jeremy supported the Time Credits project by trialling using a diary to keep track of all his appointments. This has been really beneficial as he has become more organised and can remember when he is volunteering and other appointments.

Jeremy also took part in a film documentary project through Time Credits, sharing his thoughts on homelessness and health issues. He feels really positive about the active role it enabled him to play in informing professionals.

Making a film is also a really powerful thing. It’s not every day you get to make something like that – to know you can hopefully reach lots of people, and help them learn what it’s like, and who we are. Being part of physically making the film was great…. but my favourite part was actually getting to share my own story. It was good to be able to use my own personal experience to help raise awareness about some of the issues we face. And to hear from staff and professionals that they are impressed with what we did, that’s amazing.

Jeremy has become a role model in the hostel and is always happy to help others. He bridges the gap between staff and residents, as he is often just at reception informally helping out. He has built confidence and taken on responsibility. He would like to use his Time Credits to access a CityLit course to get back into education and gain qualifications. He also wants to volunteer more:

I plan to do more volunteering as long as it has to do with homelessness and mental health. I have a fondness of helping others in the same situation as my own, or worse off.