A former driver who was on the road to ruin because of a serious drink problem and depression has got his life back on track thanks to a homelessness charity.
Things were so bad that David Roberts, 41, was reduced to sleeping rough after his life fell apart – until the Llandudno-based charity, Hope Restored, came to his rescue.
To show his gratitude for the way they helped him transform his life David now works as a volunteer at their drop-in centre.
He told his story to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones who came on a visit to the centre based at the Lighthouse Community Church in Great Orme Road.
The charity provides support for the homeless, people with drug and alcohol issues or anyone that just needs advice and a helping hand.
They have been boosted by a £2,500 grant from a special fund which uses the cash seized from criminals to help community groups.
The Your Community Your Choice scheme was set up jointly by Mr Jones, North Wales Police and the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).
Mr Jones and PACT chairman David Williams were at the centre to see for himself how the money from the fund had been spent.
The charity was set up by Brenda Fogg what it is like to be homeless, hungry and without hope.
According to David, he doesn’t know where he’d be without the help he received from Brenda and her husband, Harvey Fogg.
David, who comes originally from Penmaenmawr, said: “I’d been working away in Lincoln. I was driving for a living but had a real drink problem and depression. I would get my wages and spend the lot on drink over the weekend.
“I arrived in Llandudno in September of last year with nothing. I was on the streets sleeping rough for a bit. It was actually my mum that heard of Hope Restored and she pointed me in the right direction.
“I came down and spoke to Alan, the minister, and he put me in touch with Brenda. She got me into a B&B. It was the fact someone listened and understood that helped me. I’m now in rented accommodation, a flat.”
He added: “Without the help of Hope Restored I’d be lost, no doubt about it. Brenda has helped turn my life around. I now come in every Tuesday and Friday and volunteer.
“I talk to other people and help where I can. I also go to Greggs to collect donations of unwanted food and make bags up for those that need help.”
Mr Jones said: “Brenda is inspirational and example to us all of what can be achieved. The amount of food, clothing and even beds, the charity can organise is astounding.
“It’s also wonderful, when the need arises, that they can use the building as a night shelter sleeping eight people who otherwise would be freezing on the streets.
“Brenda, her husband Harvey and the team of volunteers do a fantastic job and the £2,500 from the Police and Community Trust’s (PACT) Your Community, Your Choice fund has been money very well spent.
“What I find amazing about Faith Restored is that they do what they do on donations alone with no recourse to public funds which is unusual even within the charitable sector.
“The people who donate the vast amount of food and clothing need to be commended for their public spiritedness.
“I would encourage more people in the County Borough of Conwy to support Hope Restored which is a charity doing the most amazing work with many vulnerable people “
David Williams was equally impressed by the determination, commitment and passion of Brenda and Harvey Fogg.
He said: “What strikes me is the fact charities such as Hope Restored are able to short circuit the system and bureaucracy getting help to people that need it quickly and in the most direct manner.
“Brenda understands the problems and just deals with them. She is able to find solutions and get over the bureaucracy so many people fail to get over. If one road is closed she finds another avenue she can go down.”
“As chair of PACT I’m totally satisfied as to the worth of our £2,500 donation. I can see that the money went directly to the people who needed it most.”
Brenda explained how she had arrived in Llandudno with two young children and ended up homeless after fleeing her abusive partner.
She recalled “Women’s Aid helped me and got me into a B&B for the first few nights. Eventually I managed to secure rented accommodation and had to drag myself up off the floor.
“It shows becoming homeless can happen to anyone. That’s why I set up Hope Restored seven years ago with my husband, Harvey, who I married four years ago
“I really do know what it’s like to be hungry and homeless. I understand the people I see who have nowhere to go.
“I’m proud of the fact we have helped more than 500 people who are now mostly settled and in their own accommodation. And many we have helped have come back and work as volunteers helping others.”
“We do around 25 hot dinners a day, good nutritional food such as roast turkey dinners, shepherd’s pie, that sort of thing. We are also donated food daily by Greggs, KFC, Tesco, Subway and others.
“The donation we received from Your Community Your Choice meant we could stock up on tents and sleeping bags to give homeless people a helping hand. However, if it’s too cold we are able to sleep eight here at the Lighthouse Community Church.
“We bought a few extra beds for our night shelter and used some of the donation to buy food for those in need last Christmas. It meant a great deal. We don’t get funding from any statutory body and rely solely on charitable donations.”